Johanna Magdalena Beyer (1888-1944)



  1. The Music by Johanna Magdalena Beyer (March 29, 1990), Part 1
  2. The Music by Johanna Magdalena Beyer (March 29, 1990), Part 2

    This is the first of two programs devoted to the works of the largely forgotten German-American composer, Johanna Magdalena Beyer (1888-1944). Beyer, who died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, was a pioneering avant-garde composer who’s works would be lost if it were not for the preservation work of the American Music Center in New York City, to which she had donated her scores prior to her death. Beyer was by most accounts a tall, angular, painfully self-conscious women, who nevertheless devoted herself to the cause of contemporary classical music, even serving as a personal secretary for Henry Cowell during his imprisonment on homosexual morals charges. This program includes recordings of Beyer’s music made at the first of two concerts devoted solely to Beyer’s work. The concert occurred on November 10, 1988 and was produced by Essential Music at the Greenwich House Auditorium in New York on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. This program also includes an interview with tenor, Paul Sperry, president of the American Music Center, during which he describes the Center as well as some of his recording experiences, including one trying time performing a piece by Karlheinz Stockhausen. This program is hosted by Charles Amirkhanian, who’s persistent research is responsible for much of the renewed interest in this forgotten composer’s work.

  1. The Music by Johanna Magdalena Beyer (March 30, 1990), Part 1
  2. The Music by Johanna Magdalena Beyer (March 30, 1990), Part 2

    This is the second of two programs devoted to the works of the largely forgotten German-American composer, Johanna Magdalena Beyer (1888-1944). Beyer, who died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, was a pioneering avant-garde composer who’s works would be lost if it were not for the preservation work of the American Music Center in New York City, to which she had donated her scores prior to her death. Beyer was by most accounts a tall, angular, painfully self-conscious women, who nevertheless devoted herself to the cause of contemporary classical music, even serving as a personal secretary for Henry Cowell during his imprisonment on homosexual morals charges. This program includes recordings of Beyer’s music made at the second of two concerts devoted solely to Beyer’s work. The concert occurred on November 15, 1988 and was produced by Essential Music at the Greenwich House Auditorium in New York on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Also heard on this program is an interview with guitarist and composer David Tanenbaum who discuses a concert that he was organizing that was to feature pieces for guitar ensembles by Steve Reich and Henry Brant, among others. This program is hosted by Charles Amirkhanian, who’s persistent research is responsible for much of the renewed interest in this forgotten composer’s work.