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Beach, Amy

Beach, Amy

Born in 1867


Inducted in 1999

Amy Marcy’s life began on September 5, 1867, in New Hampshire. When her family moved to Boston she attended private school and started studying piano and theory. With this minimal training she started to compose, concentrating at first on smaller forms. At the age of sixteen she made her official debut as a soloist at the Boston Music Hall, and a year and a half later performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Theodore Thomas Orchestra at the Boston Music Hall. Soon after, she went into official retirement and married, becoming Mrs. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach. Her new husband encouraged her composition activities, so she began to publish the results of her labors to receive commissions. In 1892 the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston and The New York Symphony Society performed two different compositions by Mrs. Beach. It was the first time either organization played a composition written by a woman. On October 30, 1896, the Boston Symphony Orchestra played the first symphony ever composed by an American woman. After the death of her husband in 1910 Beach was on her way to Europe, where she continued to compose, perform, and promote her music. In 1912 she toured Germany provoking favorable comparisons with Clara Schumann for her brilliant pianism as well as her compositions. When she returned to the United States at the beginning of World War I her career and reputation soared. Her performance tours took her around the United States and Canada. Four years before she died in December of 1944, she was honored in New York City at a testimonial dinner by 200 friends. Many musicians and composers pointed out that Amy Beach had not faltered in courage and had set an example for many other women.

Listen to Beach, Amy

"Sonata Op. 34"

Movement: mvt 2 scherzo
Performer: Terri Pontremoli (violin), Anita Pontremoli (piano)
Courtesy Of: Centaur Records

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