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Amy Beach
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    (September 5, 1867-December 7, 1944)
    Born in Henniker, New Hampshire
    Birth name was Amy Marcy Cheney
    Pianist and composer
    Composed ‘Mass in E-flat Major’ (1892), ‘Sonata for Piano and Violin’ (1986), ‘Gaelic Symphony’ (1896), ‘Three Browning Songs’ (1900), ‘Variations on Balkan Themes’ (1904) and the opera ‘Cabildo’ (1932)
    Wrote ‘Music’s Ten Commandments as Given for Young Composers’ (1915)
    Founding member and first president of the Society of American Women Composers
    As a toddler, she would throw a tantrum if anyone sang a song she did not like.
    At age 18, she married a widowed surgeon, Dr. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, who was older than her father.
    Her husband insisted that she limit her public performances to two per year.
    She had perfect pitch.
    When she was thirteen, she met Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and set his poem ‘The Rainy Day’ to music; it became her first published composition.
    Because her husband refused to let her see a music instructor, she taught herself counterpoint and harmony, and translated Hector Berlioz’s treatises on orchestration into English.
    ’Gramophone’ magazine called her ‘Gaelic Symphony’ ‘the most exciting symphony penned by an American before World War I.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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