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Amy C. Beal

Professor of Music

As a music historian and performer, Amy Beal specializes primarily in 20th-century music and American music.

Research Interests: 

Beal's research explores the history of American experimental music. Her teaching interests include historical surveys, performance practice seminars, twentieth-century and American music. As a performer she remains active as a pianist and as director of the Experimental Music Ensemble. She is particularly interested in the performance and reception of contemporary music, and in working with groups that include both musicians and non-musicians. Her recent research explores the underrepresentation of women composers in histories of American music.

(831) 459-2292
283 Music Center
244 Music Center
Office Hours: 

Wednesdays, 1-4pm, or by appointment.

Selected Publications: 


  •  Johanna Beyer (University of Illinois Press, American Composers Series; February 2015).
  • Carla Bley (University of Illinois Press, American Composers Series; 2011).
  • New Music, New Allies—American Experimental Music in West Germany from the Zero Hour to Reunification (California Studies in Twentieth-Century Music, University of California Press, 2006).


  • "Living in the (Publishing) House of Music: A Short History of Composer-Driven Publication and Distribution in the U.S.," Rethinking American Music, Tara Browner and Thomas Riis, eds. (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming).  
  • “Musica Elettronica Viva and the Art Ensemble of Chicago: Tradition and Improvisation in Self-Exile ca. 1970,” Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000 (Basel: Paul Sacher Fundation, 2014): 364-371.
  • “Christian Wolff in Darmstadt, 1972 and 1974,” in Changing the System: The Music of Christian Wolff, edited by Philip Thomas and Stephen Chase (Ashgate, 2010).
  • “Music is a Universal Human Right: Musica Elettronica Viva,” Sound Commitments: Avant-garde Music and the Sixties, Robert Adlington, ed. (Oxford University Press, 2009): 99-120.
  • “Time Canvasses: Morton Feldman and the Painters of the New York School,” in Modern Art and Music (Border Crossings).  James Leggio, ed. (New York: Routledge Publishing, 2002), 227-245.






  • Biographical Dictionary Articles: “Muhal Richard Abrams” (Vol. 1), “Roque Cordero” (Vol. 1), and “Tania León” (Vol. 2), in The International Dictionary of Black Composers.  Samuel A. Floyd, ed. (Chicago, London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999): 4-7 (Abrams); 306-310 (Cordero); 717-19 (León).


  • “Patronage and Reception History of American Experimental Music in West Germany, 1945-1986,” Ph.D. thesis, University of Michigan, 1999. [winner of the Society for American Music Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award]




  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Music of the United States of America (AMS/COPAM)
  • Chair, Committee for the Publication of American Music (2014-17)
  • Advisory Board, Tempo Magazine 
  • Appointed Member, AMS Committee on the Publication of American Music (COPAM)
  • Appointed Member, Board of Trustees, New World Records
  • Book Reviews Editor (2008-10), Journal for the Society of American Music 



  • Mills College (Visiting Professor, spring semester 2010)
  • Princeton University (Visiting Associate Professor of Music, 2006-07)
  • Bates College (Visiting Assistant Professor of Music, 1999-2001)




  • 2001: American Musicological Society, Alfred Einstein Award for article "Negotiating Cultural Allies: American Music in Darmstadt 1946-56," Journal of the American Musicological Society 53 (2000).
  • 1999: Society for American Music, Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award, "Patronage and Reception History of American Experimental Music in West Germany, 1945-86," University of Michigan, 1999.
Education and Training: 
B.M., M.M., University of Kansas
M.A., Ph.D., University of Michigan