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Composer Amy Beach

Maine Public TV Air Times:
Thur., December 16 at 10:00 pm
Sat., December 18 at 2:00 pm
Composer Amy Beach

The life and music of New Hampshire composer Amy Beach.

She was born on September 5, 1867, in Henniker, New Hampshire. She would become one of the most respected and accomplished American composers of her time. As a pianist, she had her debut at 17 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing the Chopin Piano Concerto #1.

Beach began composing when just 4 years old. At age 25 she was commissioned to write a choral piece for the opening of the Women’s Pavilion at the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago. Four years later her Gaelic Symphony was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the first symphony composed and published by an American woman. Beach became a national symbol of women’s creative power and was the dean of American women composers.

Produced by John Gfroerer for Accompany Video Productions.

Hear the Amy Beach, Piano Concerto in c sharp minor, Joanne Polk, piano; English Chamber Orchestra, Paul Goodwin, conductor on Tuesday, December 14 at 1:05 pm on Maine Public Classical.

When was the last time that your household stress produced a lasting masterpiece of classical music?  For the American composer, Amy Beach it was at the turn of the 20th century - after losing her father in 1895, Amy Beach's widowed mother moved in with Amy and her husband, and the tension and mixed emotion from these events began a creative process in Beach's mind which manifested three years later in her Piano Concerto in C sharp minor.  Well established as the talk of the musical town, the first performance took place in Symphony Hall in Boston in 1900 with Beach as the soloist and the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilhelm Gericke.  Writing that the composition could be ‘a veritable autobiography’ and is well evident with the piano soloist (Amy Beach) sometimes embraced, sometime raging against an orchestra (the her upbringing and home life which made her career both possible and difficult).