Beach, Amy

(redirected from Beach, Mrs. H. H. A.)

Beach, Amy

Beach, Amy, 1867–1944, American composer and pianist, b. Henniker, N.H., as Amy Marcy Cheney. A child prodigy, she received rather meagre training as a pianist in the United States, and toured there and in Europe. In composition she was largely self-taught. Her widely praised Gaelic Symphony (1896) was the first symphony by an American woman. She composed more than 150 works, including a piano concerto, chamber music, choral pieces, and well-known songs such as “Ecstasy,” “Ah, Love but a Day,” and “The Year's at the Spring.” Her music is in the romantic style of the 19th cent. She was famous in her era, but is little known today.


See A. F. Block, Amy Beach (1998).

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Beach, Amy (Marcy b. Cheney)

(1867–1944) composer, pianist; born in Henniker, N.H. After serious piano studies, she made her professional debut in Boston, Mass., in 1884, and appeared the next year with the Boston Symphony. That same year she married Dr. H. H. A. Beach, 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). Between 1910–14 she lived in Europe where she again gave piano concerts, usually of her own work. Employing a conservative, Romantic style, she composed over 150 works—many settings of well-known poets' works—and gained some prominence in Europe as well as in America; but she was continually hampered by the era's resistance to woman composers, expressed perhaps by the fact that she went through most of her public career known as "Mrs. H. H. A. Beach."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.