“Talking Music: Amy Fay and the Origins of the Lecture Recital”

—E. Douglas Bomberger

“E. Douglas Bomberger draws further attention to the distinctive voices of women on the postwar public stage by explicating pianist Amy Fay’s creation of the lecture recital, which combined musical performance with the oral presentation of information about the pieces performed. Not only did these recitals, which Fay called ‘piano conversations,’ help her to achieve professional success, but they also linked different audiences together in a larger public appreciation of music, discourse, and learning. Cultural elites in Boston, Midwesterners in Goshen, Indiana, and school- children on Manhattan’s Lower East Side—Fay’s audiences saw education and entertainment merge into a provocative new form of thinking together, a form that would continue to morph along with the performative and technological innovations of the twentieth century” (pp. 18). 

Selected Bibliography on Women in Culture and Music 

Bowers, Jane M., and Judith Tick. Women Making Music: The Western Art Tradition, 1150-1950. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985.

McCarthy, Margaret William. Amy Fay: America’s Notable Woman of Music. Warren, MI: Harmonie Park Press, 1995.

Price Herndl, Diane. Invalid Women: Figuring Feminine Illness in American Fiction and Culture, 1840-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.

Relevant People

Amy Beach

Teresa Carreño

Amy Fay

Sophie Menter

Melusina Fay Peirce

Marie Pleyel

Julie Rivé-King

Olga Samaroff

Clara Schumann

Anna Yesipova