A Recipe for Success
It’s not easy to perfect one career, much less two. Yet that’s what Patrick Beckman has done, combining his love for music with his taste for good food.
Beckman is a classically trained concert pianist who’s written his own sonatas and studied with the likes of Soulima Stravinsky (son of composer Igor Stravinsky) and performed with Richard Stoltzman.
A native of Elgin, Ill., Beckman and his wife, Linda, also own Cannova’s, a popular Freeport Italian eatery that was founded by Linda’s grandfather more than a century ago. They also own another location in Neenah, Wis.
As a trained pianist, Beckman cut his teeth at the University of Illinois, where he received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music in piano performance. While in college, he trained with accomplished pianists such as Kenneth Drake, Claire Richards and Dean Sanders. After graduation, Beckman became artist-in-residence for Highland College in Freeport and later chairman of the music department.
“I was classically trained, but I also played in rock groups in Chicago,” says Beckman, who’s called Freeport home for 45 years. “My pieces are classically structured with improvisation and ornamentation utilizing all types of music – R&B, blues, jazz, even country-oriented pieces.”
On Friday and Saturday nights, Beckman entertains his guests at Cannova’s, bringing to life tunes by George Gershwin and Count Basie, as well as his own compositions in a variety of light classical or jazz, sometimes accompanied by a bass player.
Beckman, who’s being inducted into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame in Elgin, has recorded original compositions that have been played from the Contemporary Music Society of Philadelphia to smaller record labels in the Midwest.
“I would write at the piano here at the restaurant while waiting for the bread to rise,” says Beckman.
He’s performed all over the world, from Germany to Madison, Wis., where he did a Mozart piano concerto with the University of Wisconsin Orchestra. The Highland Chorale, under the direction of Allen Redford, performed Beckman’s choral works at the Vatican, the Florence Duomo and Salzburg Cathedral.
Beckman and his wife are hands-on at Cannova’s, from making red sauce to handling meal prep. They’d like more time for music, and operating a busy restaurant leaves little time for any other creativity. So, the Beckmans are looking for someone to buy the iconic restaurant.
“We have a nice clientele who come from all over for a pleasurable dining experience,” he says. “It’s all about the customers.”