Johanna Beyer

Johanna Beyer

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Description

Composer Johanna Beyer's fascinating body of music and enigmatic life story constitute an important chapter in American music history. As a hard-working German emigre piano teacher and accompanist living in and around New York City during the New Deal era, she composed plentiful music for piano, percussion ensemble, chamber groups, choir, band, and orchestra. A one-time student of Ruth Crawford, Charles Seeger, and Henry Cowell, Beyer was an ultramodernist, and an active member of a community that included now-better-known composers and musicians. Only one of her works was published and only one recorded during her lifetime. But contemporary musicians who play Beyer's compositions are intrigued by her originality. Amy C. Beal chronicles Beyer's life from her early participation in New York's contemporary music scene through her performances at the Federal Music Project's Composers' Forum-Laboratory concerts to her unfortunate early death in 1944. This book is a portrait of a passionate and creative woman underestimated by her music community even as she tirelessly applied her gifts with compositional rigor. The first book-length study of the composer's life and music, Johanna Beyer reclaims a uniquely innovative artist and body of work for a new generation.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 152 pages
  • 149.86 x 213.36 x 15.24mm | 226.8g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252080726
  • 9780252080722

Review quote

"In this much needed study Amy C. Beal, a professor at the University of California, seeks to redress. . . erasure while acknowledging the difficulties of trying to shed new light upon 'the enduring mystery of this prolific yet elusive composer.'"--The Wire "Beyer was a surprising question mark that demanded an answer. A lovely book."--Kyle Gann, author of Robert Ashley "A wonderful introduction to the work of a sadly forgotten composer."--Soundbytesshow more

About Amy C. Beal

Amy C. Beal is a professor of music at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the author of Carla Bley and New Music, New Allies: American Experimental Music in West Germany from the Zero Hour to Reunification.show more