Pictured above: Amy Beach
Amy Beach (1867-1944) is one of America's most noted composers. Her work, which has been revived in recent years, is enjoying a new popularity. She began her career as a concert pianist, but after her marriage to Dr. Henry Harris Beach, she turned her talents to composition. When her Mass in E flat major, which took three years to complete, was performed by the Handel and Haydn Society with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in February,1892, it was the first work by a woman to be performed by the Society. In the same year, her aria for an alto soloist was the first work by a woman to be performed by the New York Symphony Orchestra. Her standing as a composer led her to be commissioned to write the Festival Jubilate for chorus and orchestra which was played at the dedication of the Woman's Building during Chicago's 1892 World's Columbia Exposition. Beach's Gaelic Symphony was performed by orchestras throughout the country. In 1900, she premiered her own piano concerto with the Boston Symphony and later performed it in Europe. In addition to her larger pieces, Beach composed choral works, piano pieces, and over 150 popular songs.