Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I am grateful to all the people who have shared this research journey with me and who have helped me in various ways, including Charles Amirkhanian, Bettina Aptheker, Jay Arms, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, Sally Bick, George Boziwick, William Brooks, Rich Capen, Mary Jane Cope, Ron Coulter, Rory Cowal, Gary...

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Introduction: From Leipzig to the Bronx

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pp. 1-8

In January 2013, while researching independent American music publishing in the Peter Garland Papers held by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin, I unexpectedly came across several references to the composer Johanna Beyer...

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1. Sunnyside, 1927–1933

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pp. 9-14

Aside from official paperwork—birth and death certificates, residency registrations, ship manifests, passport numbers—the earliest currently knowable fact of Beyer’s biography occurred in 1927, when she was thirtyeight years old. Therefore, our survey of Beyer’s life begins on October...

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2. Compositional Beginnings, 1933–1936

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pp. 15-22

Beyer’s compositional beginnings soon brought her into the orbit of the New School for Social Research. For the 1933–34 school year, the New School listed among its instructors Henry Cowell, Roy Harris, Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey, Harry A. Overstreet, Paul Rosenfeld, Charles Seeger...

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3. Having Faith, 1936–1940

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pp. 23-31

Beyer’s life went through many changes in 1936, not the least of which was her move in September from her Sunnyside house and community—her home since 1927—to a small apartment at 40 Jane Street in the West Village.1 Earlier that summer she started a new job teaching music in Harlem...

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4. New York Waltzes: Works for Piano

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pp. 32-39

Beyer was a skilled pianist, so it is not surprising that she wrote a number of solo piano pieces. The titles for her three major piano suites (Gebrauchs-Musik; Dissonant Counterpoint; and Clusters) derive from techniques in the air during the mid-1930s. Beyer’s use of the term Gebrauchsmusik (or, as she...

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5. Horizons: Percussion Ensemble

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pp. 40-46

Between 1933 and 1942, Johanna Beyer composed eight works for percussion ensemble—a total of nineteen movements and about seventy-five minutes’ worth of music. Copies of five of these pieces were archived in the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music in the Free Library of...

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6. The People, Yes: Songs and Choral Works

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pp. 47-53

Beyer’s entire output for voice—songs and choral works—was composed between 1933 and 1937. Her three single songs and two three-song sets make use of her own poetry and that of two other writers (see Appendix E for Beyer’s original poetry.) Beyer’s earliest songs reveal the influence...

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7. Sonatas, Suites, and String Quartets: Chamber Music

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pp. 54-62

Beyer composed at least eighteen instrumental chamber works and eleven pieces for symphony orchestra or large ensemble. The clarinet was a main focus for Beyer, perhaps because of her acquaintance with Rosario Mazzeo (E-flat and bass clarinetist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra...

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8. Symphonic Striving Works for Band and Orchestra

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pp. 63-68

Between 1935 and 1941, Beyer wrote eleven works for large ensembles, from her nine-instrument March of 1935 to her full-orchestra Symphonic Movement II of 1941, which she dedicated, optimistically, to Leopold Stokowski. Seven of these works were for the forces of the Romantic orchestra...

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9. Status Quo

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pp. 69-78

One of beyer’s most ambitious projects was a plan for an opera called Status Quo, for which she decided to apply for a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in the summer of 1937.1 Composers who won Guggenheim awards between the fellowship’s establishment in 1925 and the year...

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10. Beyer’s Final Years, 1940–44

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pp. 79-88

The summer of 1940, which coincided with Cowell’s release from prison, was busy for Beyer. She continued working on Cowell’s behalf and also visited him in White Plains after he had settled at the Graingers’ house.1 She taught piano at a number of schools and private homes around the greater New...

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Conclusion: “May the Future Be Kind to All Composers”

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pp. 89-94

Shortly before moving to the House of the Holy Comforter in June 1943, Beyer supervised the packing of her life’s work. These boxes of manuscripts rested at the American Music Center in New York for over two decades. Paul Price, a percussion instructor and assistant professor of music...

Appendix A: Biographical Data

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pp. 95-97

Appendix B: Chronological List of Beyer’s Known Works

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pp. 98-100

Appendix C: Publications of Beyer’s Music

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pp. 101-102

Appendix D: Selected Recordings of Beyer’s Music

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pp. 103-104

Appendix E: Beyer’s Poetry

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pp. 105-108

Notes

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pp. 109-120

Sources and Bibliography

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pp. 121-126

Index

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pp. 127-140