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Amy Marcey (Cheney) Beach
* 1867 † 1944
An American composer and pianist born in New Hampshire, who’s talent showed from earliest infancy. She was the first major American musician to be educated strictly in the United States and celebrated during her lifetime as the foremost woman composer of the USA. She was composing at 4, her mother began to teach her piano at 6 and at age 7 she gave her first public performances playing works of Handel and Beethoven. She was the first American Woman to succeed as a composer of large-scale art music. She had one year of lessons in harmony and counterpoint, studied the masters as models, then taught herself orchestration and fugue. She made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra aged 16 and only curtailed her performances after her marriage to Henry Harris Aubrey Beach aged 19 in respect of his wishes.
After her husband’s death, Beach went to Europe, determined to establish a reputation there as both a performer and composer. Her earliest works demonstrate her ability to create a long line and her sensitivity to relationships between music and text. Song is at the core of her style – she used some of her songs as themes in her instrumental works. Her remarkable ear for harmony and harmonic colour is apparent from the beginning and like the early Romantics she emphasizes modal degrees and uses mixed modes. Her association of key with colour and extending this with moods resulted in the expressive use of modulation. Using her status she furthered the careers of many young musicians.

Werke:

Annäherung XI
Trio op. 150
Christmas Carols by Women Composers Vol. 3
Christmas Carols by Women Composers Vol. 4

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