Born in Henniker, New Hampshire, Amy Beach is best known as the first female composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra (the 'Gaelic' Symphony in 1896) and being the first US classical composer to achieve success without European study.
She made her concert debut as a pianist in 1883 and her earliest published compositions date from the same time. She curtailed her performing career in 1885 after her marriage, in accordance with her husband's wishes, and focused on composition. She resumed her performing career in 1910 following the death of her husband, including a tour of Europe performing her own music.
On her return to the US she divided her time between the MacDowell Colony, New York City and Cape Cod producing a large volume of work. By the time of her death in 1944 she had over 300 published works.
Children's Album Op. 36 dates from 1897 and is a five movement work consisting of pieces in a dance format. The Minuet, Gavotte and March are inspired by the Baroque suites that she loved, whereas the Waltz and Polka give a nod to contemporary dance styles of the age.