Beach, Amy

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Beach, Amy Gender: F
Amy Marcey Cheney
born on 5 September 1867 at 12:30 (= 12:30 PM )
Place West Henniker, New Hampshire, 43n11, 71w49
Timezone LMT m71w49 (is local mean time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 12°38' s_mo.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 09°46 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 03°02'

Amy Beach


American composer and pianist, a child prodigy who sang at age two and began composing music at age four, performing publicly at age seven. At 13, Amy wrote "The Rainy Day" following a visit with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poem's author. It was her first published song. The home-tutored pianist first entered Boston's musical community at the age of eight. Because her parents could not afford to send her abroad, she received further musical training in Boston. In 1883, at age 16, she made her professional debut as a pianist. She went on to became a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Beach composed works in many genres, including a Mass, a symphony, a piano concerto, and works for chamber ensembles, piano, mixed chorus, and solo voice. Her thirty works for women's chorus, including several cantatas, are well-crafted in a romantic idiom, always with intelligent text setting.

In 1885, the 18 year-old pianist married Dr. Henry Harris Beach, a socially prominent doctor, Harvard professor, and musical amateur 25 years her senior. In accordance with his wishes, she limited her public appearances and concentrated on composition until after his death in 1910.

She changed her professional name to Mrs. H. H. A. Beach. With the exception of an annual recital, presentations of her own works, and occasional solo performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Beach devoted the majority of her time and efforts to writing music. Most of her compositions were published and many were performed by leading artists and ensembles. In 1892, the Boston Handel and Hayden Society premiered her first major work, the Grand Mass, Op. 5. The subsequent acclaim her work received established her as a composer and led to her first commissions. The 1896 Boston Symphony performance of her Gaelic Symphony in Minor, Op. 32 (recognized as the first symphonic work by an American woman) helped confirm Mrs. Beach as one of the country's leading


Throughout her life, Beach wrote more than 150 numbered works ranging from chamber and orchestral works to church music and songs. Her early works show the influences of Wagner and Brahms, but she added her characteristic intensity and passion. In her later years, she moved beyond the late-Romantic style as her works became more chromatic and dissonant. Nevertheless, she retained an intense lyricism throughout her career as a composer.

Following Dr. Beach's death in 1910, Mrs. Beach embarked on a three-year tour of Europe. She resumed her career as a performer and changed her professional name to Amy Beach. However, upon returning to the U.S., Beach once again assumed her married name. For the next thirty years she continued to compose and perform. Between tours, Beach resided in New York City and her cottage at Centerville on Cape Cod. Between 1921 and 1941, Beach was an annual visitor at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. She wrote most of her later works while at the Colony, including her two famous piano pieces, "The Hermit Thrush at Eve" and "The Hermit Thrush at Morning." Her annual visits to the Colony enabled her to maintain contacts with family and friends in nearby Henniker and Hillsboro, New Hampshire. Beach also developed friendships with other "Colonists," such as founder Marion MacDowell, Russian sculptor Bashka Paeff, and playwright Thornton Wilder. In 1928, Beach and Marion MacDowell received honorary Master of Arts degrees from the University of New Hampshire.

Failing health hampered Beach's activities and travel during her final years. A worsening heart condition limited her concert-going and eventually confined her to her New York apartment. She died of heart failure on 12/27/1944 at the age of 77. In her will, she left the rights to her music to the MacDowell Colony, which continues to receive royalties from her many compositions.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Work : New Career 1883 (Pro pianist debut)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1885 (Dr. Henry Beach, 25 years)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1892 (Premier of her Grand Mass)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1896 (Gaelic symphony)
  • Death of Mate 1910 (Henry died)
  • Social : Begin Travel 1910 (Three year European tour)
  • Family : Change residence 1921 at 12:00 midnight in Peterborough, NH (Seasonal home in Peterborough, NH)
  • Work : Gain social status 1928 (Honorary Masters of Arts degree)
  • Death by Heart Attack 27 December 1944 at 12:00 noon in New York, NY (Age 77)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes Adrienne Fried Block, "Amy Beach: Passionate Victorian, The Life and Work of an American Composer 1867-1944," NY: Oxford UP, 1998, p. 3, quotes data with TOB of "between noon and 1 P.M." in footnote 1 (p. 313), from "Clara Imogene Cheney, [Biography of her daughter], 26 February 1892, MacDowall Colony Papers, Library of Congress."

Bibliography. Amy Beach's life and work are examined in Walter S. Jenkins, "The Remarkable Mrs. Beach, American Composer," ed. by John H. Baron (1994);

Biography, Gail Smith, "Amy Beach: The First Great Woman Composer of America."


  • Traits : Mind : Child prodigy (Musical child prodigy)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Heart disease/attack (Attack, terminal)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Heart (Heart condition)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (25 years with Henry)
  • Family : Relationship : Widowed (Henry died)
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Travel (European travels)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Neighborhood (Multiple residencies, seasonal homes)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Child performer (From age seven)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Composer/ Arranger (Prolific composer, wide range)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Pianist)
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Music
  • Notable : Awards : Vocational award (Honorary Masters of Arts)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession