Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944)
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach was born in New Hampshire. Musically precocious, she sang improvised harmony parts at age two, composed at age four, and began piano studies with her mother, Clara Imogene Marcy Cheney, at age six, giving her first public recitals at seven. In 1875 the Cheney family moved to Boston, where Amy studied piano, harmony, counterpoint, an composition. In 1885 she made her piano debut with the Boston Symphony. That same year she married Dr. Henry beach, a socially prominent doctor, Harvard professor, and musical amateur. In accordance with his wishes, she limited her public appearances and concentrated on composition until after his death in 1910. In 1911 she traveled to Germany, where she toured as a virtuoso pianist, playing and accompanying her own works to critical acclaim. In 1914 she returned to the United States, where she maintained an active schedule of winter touring and summer composing for many years. Mrs. Beach compsed 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.