Florence Price

1887 - 1953


Florence Price (1887 – 1953), born in Little Rock, Arkansas, is considered the first recognized African-American female composer. In her lifetime, she composed more than 300 works, including small teaching pieces for piano, symphonies, concertos, instrumental chamber music, vocal compositions, and music for the radio. Coming from an artistic family, Price was groomed early in her musical training and attended New England Conservatory of Music at age 14, where she studied under George Chadwich and Frederick Converse. After graduating with degrees for organ and teaching piano, she taught in back in Arkansas. Due to racial tension in the states, Price and her family moved to Chicago, IL in 1927 and there her artistry grew. She established her herself as a teacher, pianist, ad organist after she furthered her music education at the American Conservatory of Music and Chicago Musical College. By 1932, Florence Price’s At the Cotton Gin had published by Schirmer and her Piano Sonata in E minor and Symphony in E minor had won multiple awards by the Rodman Wanamaker. The latter composition premiered with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933, which led to the subsequent performances of Price’s symphonic works by various orchestra including Detroit, Michigan and Brooklyn, New York. This success marked her as a composer of the same caliber as her male counterparts, William Grant Still and William Dawson.

(sources: http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1742 ; http://www.darryltaylor.com/alliance/composers/florence-beatrice-price )