In the 1980s the German cellist, Thomas Beckmann, developed the brilliant concept of recording Charlie Chaplin's film music in the original versions. Even today hardly anyone knows that Chaplin played cello himself and composed most of the famous melodies for his movies. With his concert programme of classical pieces and compositions by Charlie Chaplin, Beckmann conquered a large audience. All arrangements were made by Thomas Beckmann and his wife, Kayoko Matsushita.
Thomas Beckmann comes from a family of music lovers in Düsseldorf. His great grandfather played trumpet in the military band and was awarded a silver trumpet for his beautiful playing by Germany’s last emperor. Beckmann’s elder brother lives in Munich and is a respected jazz musician. As related to Thomas, he became one of the most famous cellist world wide.
Already as a student, Beckmann’s talent was evident, and he was invited to perform as section leader with several professional orchestras. In 1980, he became a student of Pierre Fournier, one of the most renowned cellists of the last century. After Fournier’s death, Beckmann inherited most of his teacher’s comprehensive musical library. This is the source of the numerous short classical works Beckmann introduces to us, verbally and musically, during his concerts.
In his native country, Beckmann’s name is most often related to his interpretation of Bach’s solo repertoire. From 1986 to 1991 Thomas Beckmann performed extended concert tours in numerous concert halls for enthused audiences worldwide, making his name known as one of the greatest living cellists.
In the summer of 2012, Thomas Beckmann performed in front of the pope for a private audience. His musical career did not hinder him from social activism. In this sense, Thomas is also the winner of multiple awards: Kiwanis-Award for Homeless Support (1997),Werthmann-Medal for Social Commitment (1999), Federal Order of Merit (2002), European Social Awards. Beckmann’s name is well known and highly respected in Germany. He appears on title page of the major newspapers. His projects are supported by former German President Roman Herzog, and his predecessor, Richard von Weizsäcker, both members of the 13-person foundation, United against Cold(Gemeinsam Gegen Kälte). All major social organizations, unions, and both major churches have joined the initiative.
Kayoko is a leading Japanese pianists. Her style is rooted in the tradition of German-French piano school. Her musical love is Robert Schumann under whose spell she has decided to move to Germany. Here, the pianist lives with her husband, cellist Thomas Beckmann, in the latter house of Clara and Robert Schumann, in Düsseldorf. Kayoko was also involved in numerous charity programs. For instance, in 1999 she and her husband have emerged on a nationwide tour in the support of homeless people. The program included works by Schumann, Beethoven and Chopin. The tour was met enthusiastically by the critics.