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Beach [née Cheney], Amy Marcy [Mrs H.H.A. Beach]locked

  • Adrienne Fried Block


(b Henniker, NH, Sept 5, 1867; d New York, Dec 27, 1944). American composer and pianist. She was the first American woman to succeed as a composer of large-scale art music and was celebrated during her lifetime as the foremost woman composer of the USA. A descendant of a distinguished New England family, she was the only child of Charles Abbott Cheney, a paper manufacturer and importer, and Clara Imogene (Marcy) Cheney, a talented amateur singer and pianist. At the age of one she could sing 40 tunes accurately and always in the same key; before the age of two she improvised alto lines against her mother's soprano melodies; at three she taught herself to read; and at four she mentally composed her first piano pieces and later played them, and could play by ear whatever music she heard, including hymns in four-part harmony. The Cheneys moved to Chelsea, Massachusetts, about ...

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