Amy Marcy Cheney was born in New Hampshire on Sept. 5, 1867. She showed signs of being a child prodigy. She began composing waltzes for the piano when she was four. She was given formal piano lessons when she was six. Amy soon began to give recitals of Handel, Beethoven, Chopin and even pieces which she composed.
In 1875, the Cheney family moved to Chelsea. She made her concert debut on Oct. 18, 1883, at Boston’s Music Hall. Two years later, Amy married Dr. Henry Aubrey Beach. She agreed “to live according to his status, that is, function as a society matron and patron of the arts. She agreed never to teach piano, an activity widely associated with women”. She self-educated herself in music composition. Her first compositional success was “Mass in E-flat major.” This piece was performed in 1892 by the Handel and Haydn Society orchestra,
In 1900 she performed her Piano Concerto with the encouragement of the Boston Symphony, but against her husband’s and mother’s wishes.
After she was widowed in 1910, she traveled to Europe. In 1912, she resumed concerts. Her debut was in Dresden. Amy returned to America in 1914.
Over Three hundred works were created and published during Amy’s lifetime. Amy Beach used her status as a female composer to help young musicians. She coached young composers and musicians.She served as President of the Board of Councillors of the New England Conservatory of Music.Between 1904 ns 1943, Amy wrote many articles on programming, preparation, and studying techniques of serious pianists. Amy became a frequently requested speaker at various educational institutions and clubs. She created “Beach Clubs” to help educate children in music.
Amy was the first president of the Society of American Women Composers.
Heart disease caused her to retire in 1940. On December 27, 1944, Amy Marcy Cheney Beach died in New York City. She is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston.