Category Archives: New Scholarship

“Beach on the Shell: How I Changed an Icon” – Dr. Liane Curtis’ Quest to Have Amy Beach’s Name Included on Boston’s Hatch Memorial Shell

In the following article, which was originally published in 2009, you will learn how Dr. Liane Curtis, with the support of Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center, was successful in having one of Boston’s prominent female composers, Amy Beach, added to the Edward A. Hatch Memorial Shell, which up until that time included a list of all male composers. The Hatch Memorial Shell is an outdoor concert venue on the Charles River Esplanade in the Back Bay section of Boston, Massachusetts.

HAPPY 149TH BIRTHDAY, AMY BEACH!

Interest continues to build in the music of the exceptionally talented American pianist and composer, Amy Beach. Some exciting additions in the areas of music scholarship and publications concerning Amy Beach have been recently released just in time for her birthday!

(1) Published in May 2016 in the Journal of the Society for American Music (volume 10, issue 2, May 2016, pp. 149-180), musicologist Dr. Sarah Gerk’s article entitled “‘Common Joys, Sorrows, Adventures, and Struggles’: Transnational Encounters in Amy Beach’s ‘Gaelic’ Symphony” discusses Amy Beach’s conscious blending of multiple streams of influence – that of Irish folk tunes and American nationalistic styles at the end of the 19th century.

2) Our Amy Beach website (www.amybeach.org) sponsor, Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy (WPA), is launching a music publishing project: Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy Publications will help make more music accessible and available through carefully edited and affordable orchestral scores and parts. On the New Publications page of our website, www.wophil.org/publications/, we will be offering performance materials by Amy Beach as well as other female composers including Elfrida Andree, Marion Bauer, Rebecca Clarke and Vítězslava Kaprálová.  AND in honor of Amy Beach’s birthday (September 5) and her 150th anniversary next year (2017), we are offering our new edition of her Symphony in E minor, Op. 32, “Gaelic” (1896), edited and engraved by our Director of Music Publications, Chris A. Trotman.  In celebration of this exciting new venture, we are happy to make the score available (in PDF format) free of charge through September 2016.  Additional WPA editions of Amy Beach’s music may be found on our Amy Beach website – www.amybeach.org/music/publications/.  Please contact us at info@wophil.org if you would like a free PDF copy of the Gaelic Symphony score as well as if you would like more information or are interested in renting or purchasing any of the Amy Beach series selections!

WPA Publications Logo - publications url

MORE GOOD NEWS!! Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy (WPA) is happy to announce our 2016 Performance Grants, with awards of $500 to $1000 available to all U.S. orchestras. The Performance Grants promote the performance of unjustly neglected music by women and encourage orchestras to engage in adventurous and inclusive programming beyond the usual masterpieces. Recognizing that new or unusual repertoire often means additional costs for ensembles, WPA established our Performance Grants (in 2012) to help overcome this obstacle to performing works by women.  All U.S. orchestras – community, professional, and youth – are eligible to receive funding.  We suggest that applicants plan to perform more than one work by a woman, and include at least one historic work. The deadline is October 14, and the application form (and materials including repertoire ideas) is available on our website (http://www.wophil.org/grants/).  Decisions will be announced November 14.  The goal of these grants is to influence future programming; thus funding awarded in the Fall 2016 cycle must be utilized in the 2017 and/or 2018 calendar years.  Additionally, beginning in 2017, we will be offering our Grants twice a year.  The Spring 2017 grant cycle, intended to support performances occurring between June 1, 2017 and August 31, 2019, will begin receiving applications in January with applications due in late February.  Decisions will be announced on March 31.  We hope that this will accommodate the planning processes of more ensembles. APPLY TODAY!

New Research Puts Spotlight on Neglected American Composers of the 19th Century

Unfortunately, very few – close to zero – living classical music fans have heard of many wonderful 19th Century, American orchestral works, because they were rarely performed by orchestras of the time, who preferred to play it safe with Brahms, Beethoven and other European masters. The works, including the “Gaelic” Symphony by Amy Beach, were nearly forgotten until a Vanderbilt University musicologist became determined to rescue them.

Doug Shadle, assistant professor of musicology at Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt, has been studying about 50 American composers active in the 1800s. They are the subject of his new book, Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise (Oxford University Press).

For more information, click here.