As a music historian and performer, Amy Beal specializes primarily in 20th-century music and American music.
Amy Beal's current research explores the history of American experimental music, in particular its relationship to patronage and support provided by the West German new music community (including radio stations and new music festivals) between 1945 and 1990. Her teaching interests include historical surveys, experimentalism, performance practice, composers' lives, John Cage, twentieth-century American opera, and "world" musics. As a performer she remains active as a pianist and as a participant in gamelan ensembles. She is particularly interested in the performance and reception of contemporary music, and in working with ensembles that include both musicians and non-musicians for the realization of indeterminate compositions.