Amy Beach was born on September 5, 1867 in Henniker, New Hampshire. She was a child prodigy, and was able to sing forty tunes accurately by age one. She had also taught herself to read when she was four. By the time she was five she was composing simple waltzes. A year after her mother started giving her formal piano lessons. After a year of piano lessons she began giving public recitals playing the works of Handel, Beethoven, Chopin, and also played some of her own work.
She made her professional debut in Bosten in 1883, playing Chopin’s Rondo in E-flat and Moscheles’s G minor Concerto. Shortly after that she appeared as a soloist with Boston Symphony Orchestra. Beach ended up marrying a surgeon 24 years older that her. After that she stopped playing as much, but to her husband’s encouragements, she began composing and playing more.
Her husband passed away in 1910, and after she toured Europe for three years. In 1915, she wrote Ten Commandments for Young Composers. In 1940 Beach was diagnosed with a heart disease, which led to her retirement. Amy Beach passed away in New York City in 1944. Beach was the first successful American female composer of large-scale art music. Most of her compositions and performances were under the name Mrs. H.H.A. Beach.
On July 9. 2000 at Boston’s Pops paid tribute to Beach. Her name was added to the granite wall on “The Shell”. She joined Bach, Handel, Chopin, Debussy, MacDowell, and Beethoven. Beach is the only woman composer on the granite wall.