Why Amy Beach Matters

Musicologist and Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandies University, Liane Curtis will present a talk with recorded music examples entitled, “Why Amy Beach Matters” at The Central Library on Wednesday, November 14 from 1 to 2 PM. in the Rundel Auditorium, 3rd Floor, Rundel Memorial Building located at 115 South Avenue in Rochester.

Amy Beach, ca. 1885 Photo courtesy the Boston Public Library

Amy Beach (1867-1944) was praised by many as an important American composer, but after her death, her music fell into obscurity. Her music, and in particular, her Piano Concerto (1900) are considered by way of evaluating her place in music history. In the Concerto, Beach draws upon four of her own songs to provide thematic material.

Following Beach’s biographer, A.F. Block, Curtis examines whether meanings from those songs were infused into the concerto. This practice of reuse is also considered in light of Beach’s borrowing in a range of her compositions. Finally, consideration of Beach’s gender was so much a part of the critical response to her music that the role of gender politics must be considered when evaluating her legacy.

This presentation is in anticipation of The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of Beach’s Concerto on November 15 and 17, with Saet-Byeol Kim, piano and Arild Remmereit, conductor. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch to this event. Free of charge and open to all. For more information call the Arts & Music Division at 585-428-8140.