With great sadness, Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy mourns the passing of Dr. Rae Linda Brown, who died following a brief illness of sarcoma (a rare cancer of the connective tissue). A musicologist, professor, university administrator, and past President of the Society for American Music, we remember Dr. Brown especially for her groundbreaking scholarship on composer Florence Price.
While a graduate student, Brown discovered some manuscripts of Florence Price’s music in the Yale University library. Brown went on to complete her Ph.D. dissertation on Price, which was the first work of extensive scholarship on the composer. Brown also authored a wide range of valuable work that brought this remarkable composer to public notice. She worked with The Women’s Philharmonic as part of the recording of 2001, of Price’s The Oak, Mississippi River; Symphony No. 3. This was the first commercial recording of any of Price’s orchestral music. Brown went on to publish two of Price’s Symphonies with A-R Editions — their scholarly introductions, and excerpts of the music are available on Google books.
She also edited Price’s Piano Sonata in E minor for G. Schirmer, and wrote extensively on Price, including this article on the Piano Concerto in One Movement in the journal American Music.
Here is a short video where Brown talks a bit about her work on Price.
Most recently, Brown was featured in the 2015 documentary The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price, which has been broadcast in the US on PBS and can be purchased from The University of Arkansas Press.
As revealed in this film, more music by Price has recently been discovered, emphasizing that our understanding of her important output is still in its very early stages, as more music is brought to light and made available to musicians and listeners. The best tribute to Prof. Brown’s work is to perform, celebrate, explore and experince the vast riches of Florence Price’s music.