Remembering Florence Price

Florence Price (1887-1953) was the first black woman to achieve recognition and fame as a composer of large forms. After studying at the New England Conservatory, (she graduated in 1907) Price moved to Arkansas, and then settled in Chicago where her composing career gained momentum.

She was a prolific composer, composing in small and large forms, including four symphonies. Price was also deeply spiritual and often incorporated her faith in her work, as exemplified by the numerous spirituals that she arranged for chamber settings.

Though her name has largely disappeared from common knowledge, her life and works are still a topic of interest for scholars. More information can be found through Her papers are held at the University of Arkansas. Price scholar Rae Linda Brown has edited the first and third symphonies, including a thorough biography, which can be viewed (if only in part) at Google Books.

Here is the first movement of Price’s fourth symphony:

You can also purchase a recording of Price’s third symphony as performed by The Women’s Philharmonic through the WPA store.