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AMY BEACH  

(1867 - 1944)

Amy Beach was the first American woman to succeed as a composer of large-scale musical works. The most frequently performed composer of her generation, she became famous in both the United States and Europe.

Amy Beach was born Amy Marcy Cheney, in West Henniker, New Hampshire, during an era when the world of work was divided into two spheres, the private and domestic for women, the public for men. Gifted with perfect pitch, total recall, inborn ability at the piano and in composition, she knew even as a young child that “no other life than that of a musician could ever have been possible for me”. Yet her parents said no to a professional career for Amy. With hard work and determination she succeeded, despite the limitations imposed by family and society. Her childhood and early teens were devoted to piano studies. Her first private recital at the age of seven earned her a review in a local paper. Her mother “allowed” her to make her début when she was sixteen. After hearing her play Moscheles’s Second Concerto with orchestra, a dozen reviewers predicted an outstanding career as a concert pianist. In 1885, when she made her début with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, critics called her playing of Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto “perfect.”

Marriage at the age of eighteen to Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, M.D., changed Amy Beach’s career path. Her husband, 25 years her senior, replaced her parents as authority figure. She agreed, after some resistance, to limit public performance to one annual recital. Composition, said Henry, was to be her métier: he even allowed her to publish her compositions, but under her new name, Mrs. H.H.A. Beach. Denied a teacher, she taught herself orchestration and composition, with remarkable success.

During 25 years of marriage, Amy Beach composed not only the symphony and the concerto but also songs, chamber, choral and solo piano music. Widowed at 43, she went to Germany to present her compositions and revive her career as a pianist, under the name Amy Beach. On her triumphant return to Boston in 1914, she devoted herself to concert tours and composition, completing the balance of her three hundred works, almost all published and performed. Long a hero to women composers, she died 1944 in New York City at the age of 77.

Adrienne Fried Block

View by Role: Classical Composer | Lyricist
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
AMERICAN VIRTUOSA - Tribute to Maud Powell Cedille
CDR90000-097
Chamber Music
BEACH, A.: Cabildo [Opera] / Hermit Thrush at Eve / Give me not love / In the Twilight (Wilson) Delos
DE3170
Vocal, Opera, Vocal, Instrumental, Vocal
BEACH, A.: Theme and Variations / GINASTERA, A.: Impresiones de la Puna / FOOTE, A.: Nocturne and Scherzo (Music for a Sunday Morning) Delos
DE3173
Chamber Music
BEACH, A.: Vocal and Chamber Music (Rendezvous) (Waschinski, Meininger Trio) Phoenix Edition
Phoenix188
Vocal, Chamber Music, Vocal, Chamber Music, Vocal, Chamber Music, Vocal
BEACH: Chanson d'amour BIS
BIS-CD-1245
Vocal, Chamber Music, Vocal, Chamber Music, Vocal, Chamber Music
BEACH: Piano Concerto / 'Gaelic' Symphony Naxos
8.559139
Orchestral, Concertos
BEACH: Songs Naxos
8.559191
Vocal
BJORLING, Jussi: Bjorling Collection, Vol. 8: O Sole Mio (1920-1952) Naxos Historical
8.110792
Vocal
Chamber Music - WILBYE, J. / MONK, T. / BACH, J. / BIZET, G. / FAURE, G. / IBERT, J. / GRIEG, E. / ALBINONI, T. / GOOMAN, B. (Music for Chamber Winds) Altissimo
75442261802
Chamber Music
CHILDREN'S CELLO BIS
BIS-CD-1562
Chamber Music
PILGRIM'S PROGRESS: PIONEERS OF AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC Naxos
8.559200
Concertos
STORY OF AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC (THE) Naxos Educational
8.558164-65
Concertos
VIOLIN LULLABIES Cedille
CDR90000-139
Chamber Music
Vocal Music - HOLST, G. / BEACH, A. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. / MENDELSSOHN, Felix (Hymn to the Dawn) (Etherea Vocal Ensemble) Delos
DE3431
Vocal Ensemble
Vocal Recital: Bielfield, Kyle - BEACH, A. / BARBER, S. / ROREM, N. / DUKE, J. / GRIFFES, C.T. (Stopping By) Delos
DE3445
Vocal
Role: Lyricist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BEACH, A.: Vocal and Chamber Music (Rendezvous) (Waschinski, Meininger Trio) Phoenix Edition
Phoenix188
Vocal
BEACH: Chanson d'amour BIS
BIS-CD-1245
Vocal
BEACH: Songs Naxos
8.559191
Vocal




 
 
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8:38:09 PM, 21 September 2014
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