Florence Price was doubtless one of the great composers of her generation, and the first African American woman "to achieve national recognition for her accomplishments as a symphonic composer." (source: University of Arkansas.) In 2018, Price seems finally to be having her "moment" with a flurry of press, new editions on the horizon, and the premiere of her once-lost fourth symphony all occurring since January. An American original who completed over 300 compositions, she was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas and later became a part of the Chicago music scene after some time studying at the New England Conservatory with composer George Whitfield Chadwick

Next season I'll be performing the music of Price, and I would encourage local concertgoers to come out to one or both of these performances. In the meantime, this entry is designed to round up a lot of the existing resources on the web into one place so that other musicians can pursue projects to do with Price's music more quickly and readily. With hundreds of works, including two violin concertos and four symphonies, there is a wealth of repertoire to explore for practitioners in almost every musical genre. 

This post divides into three main sections: Curated Resources, Repertoire, and Appendix. 

She seems to speak from an imaginary past, from an alternative history of an America that lived up to its stated ideals.
— Alex Ross
 

Curated Resources

Articles

Documentaries

There are a number of great radio and tv programs to aid any musician in learning more about this electrifying composer, many of them available for free online. 

The Price of Admission

Hosted by Terrance McKnight.

Gathering The Pieces: The Florence Price Legacy

Hosted by Karen Tricot Steward.

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Listen to the complete program on UALR Public Radio's website: Gathering The Pieces: The Florence Price Legacy.

The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price

The complete documentary by James Greeson is available for purchase by The University of Arkansas Press.

The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price
University of Arkansas Dept of Music

 

Interviews

The Life and Music of Florence Price: An Interview with Rae Linda Brown

This interview exists only in print. Read at Black Perspectives. Of note is their conversation about being a single mother.

The Unsung Legacies of Composers Margaret Bonds and Florence Price

This interview on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra website is notable for engaging with Alex Ross' New Yorker profile from earlier this year as regards career inertia. Lara Emerick and Samantha Ege discuss.

Q on Florence Price

Hosted by Tom Power.

Listen to the complete interview on WNYC: Q - Full Episode: Er-Gene Kahng.

Unfortunately the work of a woman composer is preconceived by many to be light, froth, lacking in depth, logic and virility. Add to that the incident of race — I have Colored blood in my veins — and you will understand some of the difficulties that confront one in such a position.
— Florence Price to Serge Koussevitzky, 1943
 

Repertoire

Spotlight: Violin Concerto No. 2

Violinist Er-Gene Kahng is one of the many first-rate artists who call Arkansas home and who actively promote the music of Price. Kahng performs the two price concerti across the country and also plays with the Arkansas and Ft. Smith symphonies, both of which actively perform Price's symphonic works.

Orchestral Works

I've provided a brief YouTube playlist covering a number of different symphonic works as well as samples from a couple of documentaries. I'll call attention to her first Symphony in E Minor for its depth and breadth of both structure and expression.

Various Works

This spotify list created by Patrick Abraham Fisher contains a mixture of many works across genres. Notice her imaginative orchestrations. Among the many strong works on this list is her popular Fantasie Negre, which has also received some critical analysis. Also of note is the performer, pianist Lara Downes. I do not know Downes personally, but she and I have both recorded the music of Martha Callison Horst. We seem to have similar tastes. Other favorites include Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint and Night.

 

Appendix: Additional Resources

Here is an additional supply of links to reliably-sourced materials on various aspects of Price's music and career. 

Scholarly Writing and Critical Analysis

Archival Collections

Each of these collections within the Library of Congress contain significant materials which relevant to the performance of Florence Price's music.

  • A.P. Schmidt Company. A.P. Schmidt Company archives, 1869-1958 (bulk 1895-1920).
         34,775 items (514 containers, 280 linear feet)
         ML31 .A2. https://lccn.loc.gov/2006577426
  • Epstein, Selma, donor. Selma Epstein collection, 1931-1987.
         72 items (5 boxes, 2.6 linear feet).
         ML31 .E6. https://lccn.loc.gov/2014572489
  • Langinger, Herman. Herman Langinger music publishing files, 1889-1972 (bulk 1927-1955).
         650 items (12 boxes, 4.0 linear feet)
         ML31 .L36. https://lccn.loc.gov/2011570509
  • Rodzinski, Artur, 1892-1958. Artur Rodzinski collection, 1868-1989 (bulk 1932-1957).
         around 5,000 items (62 boxes, 30 linear feet).
         ML31 .R64. https://lccn.loc.gov/2006577403

Online Articles

Additional Resource Lists

Raw Links

  • http://5newsonline.com/2018/04/29/fort-smith-symphony-prepares-for-final-show/
  • http://africlassical.blogspot.com/2018/02/university-of-arkansas-tribute-to.html
  • https://www.allclassical.org/womens-history-month-florence-price/
  • http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/artsmash/bs-fe-bso-review-0218-story.html
  • https://books.google.com/books?id=9lzwS6YzrG8C&lpg=PR38&ots=nqMsu9gNBv&dq=Ethiopia's%20Shadow%20in%20America%20wanamaker&pg=PR38#v=onepage&q=Ethiopia's%20Shadow%20in%20America%20wanamaker&f=false
  • https://chevalierdesaintgeorges.homestead.com/Price.html
  • https://chicagodefender.com/2011/02/08/bmrc-rsquo-s-black-prism-music-by-african-american-composers/
  • http://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/florence-price/
  • https://csosoundsandstories.org/the-unsung-legacies-of-composers-florence-price-and-margaret-bonds/
  • http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1742
  • http://interlochenpublicradio.org/post/violinist-er-gene-kahng-conversation-classical-ipr
  • https://johnpwalshblog.com/2017/11/08/five-african-american-classical-composers-and-their-work-william-grant-still-florence-b-price-harry-t-burleigh-william-levi-dawson-and-mary-lou-williams
  • http://jstheater.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-music-of-florence-price.html
  • http://kuaf.com/post/giving-once-lost-works-florence-price-their-due
  • https://www.kusc.org/culture/staff-blog/open-ears/open-ears-florence-b-price/
  • http://magazine.pianoperformers.org/revisiting-history-florence-price-the-gifted-outsider-by-jacqueline-leung/
  • https://newswise.com/articles/composer-florence-price-honored-by-organization-who-denied-her-entry-due-to-race
  • https://nmbx.newmusicusa.org/sounds-heard-florence-b-price-concerto-in-one-movement-symphony-in-e-minor/
  • http://www.swtimes.com/entertainmentlife/20180503/fort-smith-symphony-to-debut-arkansan-florence-prices-composition-at-concert
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/the-top-women-composers-in-classical-music/2017/08/04/319274d4-76f2-11e7-803f-a6c989606ac7_story.html?utm_term=.fdb53c1e9fd9
  • http://worldchannel.org/programs/episode/caged-bird-life-and-music-florence-b-price/
  • https://www.wpr.org/music-florence-price-brought-life-world-premiere-recording
  • https://repository.arizona.edu/handle/10150/193978
  • http://www.marquesecarter.com/florence-price-research.html
  • https://etd.ohiolink.edu/rws_etd/document/get/ucin1186770755/inline
  • http://blackgrooves.org/florence-price-violin-concertos-nos-1-and-2/
  • https://www.bsomusic.org/stories/listening-guide-florence-price/
  • https://www.aaihs.org/the-life-and-music-of-florence-price-an-interview-with-rae-linda-brown/
  • http://guides.lib.fsu.edu/c.php?g=353115&p=2383511

 

Bonus: Commercial Recordings

 First page from the University of Arkansas' new performing edition of  Ethiopia's Shadow in America.

First page from the University of Arkansas' new performing edition of Ethiopia's Shadow in America.

Upcoming Performances
 

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Jordan Randall Smith is the Music Director of Symphony Number One.