Life’s a Beach and then you Die.

June 28, 2016 at 10:30 am

Amy Beach was the first successful female American composer. She remains unsung today, but ironically this has less to do with her sex than it has to do with the year she was born.

Beach was one of the members of the “Boston Six” – Six American composers whose musical success marked a new era for Art Music in the US. After centuries of being considered a backwards musical wasteland, the United States was finally on the Art Music map. So what happened? Why are the Boston Six not household names? Well, their writing was very rooted in the European style (German, specifically), and there is little that is uniquely American about their music. This wasn’t a big deal during the height of their careers; but soon afterwards they became completely overshadowed by two things: Charles Ives and Jazz. Ives became the poster-boy for academic, aloof, cultivated Art Music, while Jazz quickly became the defining American musical idiom.

Back to Amy Beach – her music is truly fantastic; as good, if not even better, than the European masters who get overplayed.