Beyer, Johanna Magdalena

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Beyer, Johanna Magdalena

Beyer, Johanna Magdalena, German-American composer and musicologist; b. Leipzig, July 11, 1888; d. N.Y., Jan. 9, 1944. She studied piano and theory in Germany. In 1924 she went to America and studied at the David Mannes School in N.Y. receiving a teacher’s certificate in 1928. She also took private lessons with Rudhyar, Crawford, Seeger, and Cowell. She wrote music and several plays for various projects in N.Y. During Cowell’s term in San Quentin prison (1937–41), Beyer acted as his secretary and cared for his scores. Her compositional style was dissonant counterpoint.


ORCH.: March for 14 Instruments (1935); Cyrnab for Chamber Orch. (1937); Fragment for Chamber Orch. (1937); Symphonic Suite (1937); Dance for Full Orchestra (Status Quo) (1938); Elation for Concert Band (1938); Reverence for Winds (1938); Symphonic Movement I (1939) and II (1941); Symphonic Opus 3 (1939) and 5 (1940). CHAMBER: Suite for Clarinet I (1932) and Ib (1933); Percussion Suite (1933); Quintet for Woodwinds (1933); Suite for Clarinet and Bassoon (1933); IV for Percussion Ensemble (1935); Clarinet Sonata (1936); Suite for Bass Clarinet and Piano (1936?); Movement for Double Bass and Piano (1936); Suite for Violin and Piano (1937); Suite for Oboe and Bassoon (1937); Movement for Woodwinds (1938); March for 30 Percussion Instruments (1939); Percussion, op. 14 (1939); Six Pieces for Oboe and Piano (1939); Three Movements for Percussion Ensemble (1939); Waltz for Percussion Ensemble (1939); Trio for Woodwinds (1940?); 4 string quartets (1933–34; 1936; Dance, 1938; 1943?); Music of the Spheres (Status Quo) (1938). Piano: Gebrauschs-Musik (1934); Clusters or New York Waltzes (1931, 1936); Winter Ade and five other folk song settings (1936); Movement for 2 Pianos (1936); Dissonant Counterpoint (1936?); Suite for Piano (1939); Sonatina (1943); Prelude and Fugue (n.d.); Piano-Book, Classic-Romantic-Modern (n.d.). vocal: choral : Tte Robin in the Rain (1935); The Federal Music Project (1936); The Main-Deep (1937); The People, Yes (1937); The Composers’ Forum Laboratory (1937). Songs: Sky-Pieces (1933); 3 Songs (Timber Moon; Stars, Songs, Faces; Summer Grass) for Soprano, Piano, and Percussion (1933); Ballad of the Star-Eater for Soprano and Clarinet (1934); 3 Songs (Total Eclipse; Universal-Local; To Be) for Soprano and Clarinet (1934); Have Faith! for Soprano and Flute (3 versions; 1936–37).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire