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(1867 - 1944)
C O M P O S E R & P I A N I S T

Amy Marcy Cheney
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach
Mrs. H.H.A. Beach


Of her more than 300 musical works, Born in New Hampshire, Amy Beach was a prodigy on the piano,
including an opera, a symphony, a playing by ear at age four, and composing soon after. She was almost
piano concerto, choral works, and entirely self-taught in composition, teaching herself languages and
chamber music, 117 of them were art counterpoint. She debuted as a concert pianist with the Boston
Symphony Orchestra when she was 15. She was an active performer
songs for voice and piano. Although
until she married Dr. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach (25 years her senior)
the number of art songs suggests that at the age of 18. She continued to compose and publish most of her
she this musical form was important to works during her lifetime, which is particularly unusual for most
her, it was actually a way for her to composers, particularly being a female composer who didn't use a
take a creative break from her larger male pen name. After her husband's death, she returned to being a
works for piano. concert pianist.

Her songs have been set for both low She pioneered the way for female composers to be recognized by
founding and becoming the first president of the Society of American
and high voice, but most recordings
Women Composers in 1925.
that can be found are made by the
female voice, particularly sopranos.
She wrote in the late-romantic style
throughout her entire life, and used
poetry from Shakespeare, Heine, Victor RECOMMENDED
Hugo, and contemporary poets she LISTENING
knew personally in her art songs.
Three Shakespeare Songs (1897) (English)
No. 3 Fairy Lullaby
CITED SITES Lauralyn Kolb, Don McMahon
READING Op. 21 Three Songs (1893) (French)
No. 3 Elle et Moi
Emma Kirkby, Romantic Chamber Group of
Song, Carol Kimball London Op. 51 Four Songs (1903) (German & French)
No. 4  Je demande à l’oiseau
Library of Congress
Hélène Guilmette, Martin Dubé