Composer Amy Beach – A New Documentary About NH Composer Amy Beach



On Sale Now


Thu, September 30, 2021






$12 GA Seating
(plus per ticket fee, directly supporting the Capitol Center/Bank of NH Stage)


Bank of NH Stage
16 S Main St, Concord, NH 03301


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Amy Cheney was born September 5, 1867 in Henniker, New Hampshire.  She would become one of the most respected and accomplished American composers of her time.  As a pianist she had her debut in The Boston Music Hall at the age of 16 and at 17 she appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing the Chopin Piano Concerto #1.  Beach began composing when just 4 years old.  At age 25 she was commissioned to write a choral piece for the opening of the Women’s Pavilion at the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago.  Four years later her Gaelic Symphony was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the first symphony composed and published by an American woman. Beach became a national symbol of women’s creative power and was the dean of American women composers.

However, Beach’s story is not just about her musical accomplishments. Equally important was her inner strength to succeed in a mans world. Many were the road blocks put in her path.  As a child, her mother would not even let young Amy play the piano, despite obvious signs of her musical gifts.  She was never allowed to expand her piano education by pursuing study in Europe.  At eighteen she married Doctor Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, a prominent Boston physician, twenty-four years older than she.  Though he encouraged her composition, he also made her give up concertizing and public performance.  It would not be until after his death in 1910 that she would resume her life as a concert pianist, regularly touring across the United States and Europe to great acclaim.  As a composer she was self-taught because there was no other option. Despite these barriers, she would ultimately come to be known as America’s greatest woman composer of classical works.

Though Amy Beach was indeed a woman of the world, she also continued her connections to New Hampshire.  Her family moved to Boston when she was four years old.  But in her later years she spent summers in Hillsborough and at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough where she was an early supporter, contributing time and money to the Colony in the its important early years, willing the rights to her compositions to the Colony upon her death.

Among the people interviewed for this documentary are Pianists Virginia Eskin and Joanne Polk, Conductor Joanne Falletta, Historians Steven Ledbetter, Sarah Gerk, Judith Tick, and BSO Archivist Bridgette Carr, Choirmaster of St. Bart’s Episcopal Church in New York, Paolo Bordignon, and David Macy, Resident Director, MacDowell Colony.

This event is a broadcast of a documentary about NH composer Amy Beach and is shown on the Bank of New Hampshire stage’s video wall in high definition, followed by discussion with the producers, John Gfroerer and Virginia Eskin.

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