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Amy Beach in Words and Music: North Country Chamber Players
FY 2009 American Masterpieces: New Hampshire Inspirations Project Grant: $3,600Harris and Beach

American Masterpieces: New Hampshire Inspirations was the State Arts Council’s implementation of the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces initiative championed by former NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. This initiative supported the presenting, touring and/or teaching of artistic creations of national significance so that American audiences would have greater access to their artistic masterpieces. While the NEA has moved on to other initiatives, this federal support enabled many wonderful projects to take root and grow in New Hampshire.

young Amy BeachIn FY2009 the North Country Chamber Players, an organization based in Franconia, NH, teamed up with former New Hampshire poet laureate Marie Harris to develop a special program that explored the life and work of 19th century New Hampshire composer Amy Beach.

Born in 1867 in Henniker, NH, Beach was renowned both as a concert pianist and as the country’s first successful female composer of classical music for the orchestra. She created a professional life for herself at a time when women were not active in creative circles.Beach composition

“Amy Beach in Words and Music” premiered in October 2009 at the Sugar Hill Meetinghouse. Harris, a long time admirer of Beach’s work, was commissioned to interpret aspects of Beach’s life in an original poetic narrative, which was artfully interspersed with the North Country Chamber Players’ performance of several of Beach’s compositions.

In describing the project, North Country Chamber Players Executive Director Joyce Petkovich noted it was “a vehicle not only to talk about one of America’s premier women composers, but…also [to] facilitate discussion about the traditions of classical music in the United States and abroad, classical instrumentation and the role of women in the classical tradition.”

poet Marie HarrisThe project was so successful that Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish featured it in August of 2010.  North Country Chamber Players welcomes more opportunities to tour the piece. To inquire regarding cost and availability, please contact:  Joyce Petrovich at

Click here for more information about Amy Beach.




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Last updated: November 8, 2010

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