Happy Birthday Amy Beach!
Tue, 05 Sep 2017

This month, Clef Notes looks at important women composers throughout history. Let’s get started with Amy Beach (1867–1944), who celebrates her 150thbirthday today! Amy grew up in Boston during an era when women were just starting to gain a few rights including the right to attend college and hold a public job. That being said, it was still quite difficult for her to break through in the music world, despite her incredible talents. 

Amy Beach was a child prodigy who studied privately early on and taught herself how to compose. By the time she turned 18, Amy was appearing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and publishing her early compositions. After marrying a wealthy doctor, however, she gave up her concert appearances due to his view that it was not respectable for a woman to hold such a position. He did encourage her to focus her efforts on composition, which led to a period of many outstanding works. Following his death in 1910, Amy took up touring again, performing her own works.

At the time when Amy lived, women were thought to be incapable of composing larger works (such as symphonies or concertos). Amy decided to prove this theory wrong by writing quite a few major works including her Mass in E-flat, Gaelic Symphony, Piano Concerto, and Piano Quintet. She ended up being an inspiration for many women to follow in her footsteps. Next time, we’ll look at one of her major works, the Gaelic Symphony. 


More from Clef Notes:

Rebecca Clarke
Tue, 19 Sep 2017

The Wreckers
Thu, 14 Sep 2017

Ethel Smyth
Tue, 12 Sep 2017

Amy Beach's Gaelic Symphony
Thu, 07 Sep 2017

Happy Birthday Amy Beach!
Tue, 05 Sep 2017

What is your favorite era for the symphony?
Thu, 31 Aug 2017

William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony
Tue, 29 Aug 2017

The Romantic Era Symphony
Thu, 24 Aug 2017

Beethoven's Pivotal Ninth Symphony
Tue, 22 Aug 2017

A Symphony by Mozart
Thu, 17 Aug 2017

Haydn and his Surprises!
Tue, 15 Aug 2017

Stamitz and the Mannheim Orchestra
Fri, 11 Aug 2017

A Symphony by Sammartini
Wed, 09 Aug 2017

The Early Symphony
Mon, 07 Aug 2017

Music by Danny Elfman
Thu, 03 Aug 2017

William Schuman's New England Triptych
Tue, 01 Aug 2017

The Music of Elmer Bernstein
Thu, 27 Jul 2017

Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story
Tue, 25 Jul 2017

Eric Whitacre and Goodnight Moon
Thu, 20 Jul 2017

The Music of Samuel Barber
Tue, 18 Jul 2017