Note:This thesis is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of a recital of music related to the thesis topic.

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Title:Selected virtuosic concert piano works by Amy Beach: A pianistic and pedagogical analysis
Author(s):Choi, Eun Hae
Advisor(s):Heiles, William
Contributor(s):Heiles, William; Bashford, Christina; Tharp, Reynold; Tsitsaros, Christos
Department / Program:School of Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Subject(s):Amy Beach
Four Sketches
Variations on Balkan Themes
Five Improvisations
Abstract:Amy Beach (1867-1944) was the first successful female composer and concert pianist in America, who challenged prejudices against women composers in the late nineteenth century by writing music in large forms. While her numerous works were frequently performed during her lifetime, performances of her music today are rare. There have been several attempts to revive Beach’s music in recent years. My research adds to the rediscovery of Beach within the scope of her piano music. This study examines the pianistic and pedagogical value of Amy Beach’s virtuosic concert piano pieces. An overview of Beach’s biographical background, compositional style, and reception as a pianist is followed by a stylistic analysis of three selected piano pieces: Four Sketches, Op. 15 (1892), two versions of Variations on Balkan Themes, Op. 60 (1906 and 1936), and Five Improvisations, Op. 148 (1938). My analysis focuses on identifying techniques and interpretive clues for performance while also considering issues relevant to pedagogical instruction. The last chapter, an extended study of Variations on Balkan Themes Op. 60, discusses two researchers’ contrasting opinions about the relative validity of the original and revised editions of the work and explains my own view that finds great value in the revised edition. For insights into practical approaches for playing and interpreting Beach’s music, I conducted interviews with three professional concert pianists who have recorded Beach’s music. My hope is that this study will bring greater attention to Beach’s piano music, which deserves a more prominent place in the recital repertoire today. I also offer pianists several practical performance strategies for Beach’s piano music, and I encourage piano teachers to use Beach’s music as teaching material for their advanced students.
Issue Date:2020
Publisher:School of Music, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Eun Hae Choi
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-05-06

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