Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

Amy (Marcy) Beach - Selected discography

symphony boston woman usa

Composer and pianist, born in Henniker, New Hampshire, USA. She made her professional debut as a pianist in Boston in 1884, the next year appearing with the Boston Symphony. Also in 1884 she married Dr Henry H A Beach (d.1910), who encouraged her shift to composing, even though she had little formal instruction in it. Her Gaelic Symphony, premiered by the Boston Symphony in 1896, was the first such work by an American woman, as was the piano concerto the orchestra premiered four years later (with the composer as soloist). She later lived in Europe (1910–14), where she again gave piano concerts, usually of her own work. She composed over 150 works - many of them settings of well-known poems - and gained some prominence both in Europe and the USA, but she was continually hampered by the era's resistance to woman composers, reflected in the fact that she went through most of her public career known as ‘Mrs H H A Beach’.

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