“It has happened more than once that a composition has come to me, ready-made as it were, between the demands of other work.”
No stranger to the american public, Amy Beach (1867-1944) still ranks among the lesser known composers in the rest of the world. As a child prodigy born in New Hampshire, she soon moved to Boston with her family. At the age of sixteen she made her debut as a piano soloist playing Moscheles’ second piano concerto. Her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra came a few years later with Chopin’s second piano concerto, and received rave reviews.
Her marriage at the age of eighteen to a man 25 years her senior put an end to her career as a virtuoso, as he demanded she should not give more than one concert in public a year.
But she was allowed to compose, and compose she did, although she never had more than a year of counterpoint as formal schooling: she was the first american woman to write a symphony, and she composed chamber music, choral pieces and many, many songs.
Widowed at the age of 43, she took up her piano career again touring in the US and Europe.