Amy Beach

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944) was considered to be one of the most gifted composers of her day, known as the first prominent American woman composer of symphonic music and an inspiration to many other women in music. She also had a very successful career as a piano soloist and chamber musician.

Born in Henniker, New Hampshire on September 5, 1867, Beach came from a cultural family of early New England colonists. She displayed great talent at a very early age, singing at age one, learning to read at three and playing piano by the age of four. She studied piano and harmony in her early years, however, was largely self taught in the field of composition. In 1883 she made her debut as a pianist in Boston performing a Moscheles piano concerto with orchestra. In 1885, at the age of seventeen, she performed Chopin’s F Minor Concerto with the the Boston Symphony, the same year in which her song, With Violets, was published. At age 18 she married Boston surgeon Dr. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, and as a sign of her loyalty to him, always used the name Mrs. H. H. A. Beach professionally.

Most of Beach’s early compositions for piano were in a Romantic style similar to Brahms and Chopin. Her Mass in E Flat Major was performed by the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston in 1892, the first work by a woman to be performed by that organization and her aria Eilende Wolken was performed by Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony in 1893. Her Gaelic Symphony based on Irish folk tunes was performed by the Boston Symphony in 1896, and was very well received by audiences, later to be performed by the Chicago, Philadelphia, Saint Louis, and San Francisco symphony orchestras. The Violin Sonata in A Minor was composed in 1896 and premiered by Beach and Franz Kniesel in 1897. In 1900 she appeared as piano soloist with the Boston Symphony in the premiere of her Piano Concerto, and her choral piece, The Chambered Nautilus was performed for the first time in New York in 1907. She also composed many songs in the Romantic style and a Piano Quintet in F Sharp Minor (1908), one of her most popular works.

Following her husband’s death in 1910, Beach traveled to Europe to perform her music. She played in Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg and Rome and attracted attention as the first American woman to compose European style music of excellent quality. With the onset of World War I, she returned to the United States in 1914 and lived in New York for the remainder of her life.

Amy Beach — Sonata in A Minor, Op. 34

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach was considered to be one of the most gifted composers of her day, known as the first prominent American woman composer of symphonic music. The Sonata in A Minor, Op. 34, (1896) is an epic romantic piece in the style of Brahms and Chopin. Originally for violin, this transcription for flute and piano by Dr. Alexa Still is similar in stature and difficulty to the Cesar Franck Sonata. Technically easier than the Prokofiev Sonata, it requires similar endurance due to the extensive lyrical melodies in all registers.

Suited for:


For Flute and Piano, 26 minutes.
FL-9510 . . . $25.00

Toll Free Phone/Fax - USA: (800) 720-0189 (24 hours)
Phone/Fax - Outside the USA: (610) 667-3436 (24 hours)
P.O. Box 4852 • Richmond, Virginia 23220 • U.S.A.