Musician Spotlight Series:
Classical Composer Florence Price
As part of my ongoing commitment to improve my working practice, I will be taking the time to shine a light on musicians who have been too easily forgotten in our mainstream culture. I am sorry to not have done more of this before.
This month, is the classical composer Florence Price. I have loved listening to her compositions and have added some recommended links below for a starting point if Florence is new to you – listening through to these performances, you will recognise some well-known folk and African American spirituals that Florence wove into her pieces. To get some background knowledge, please see my short introduction below, together with some further links. Enjoy!
Price (b.1887) was an African-American classical composer who was born to a music teacher Mother and a dentist father. After studying piano and organ in New England, she married Thomas Price. While bringing up two young girls, Price continued to study composition, and in the late 1920s had some of her music published for piano. After divorcing in the early 1930s, Florence then started composing even more – while balancing single parenthood, Price was an inspirational force ahead of her time. Living with another female composer (Margaret Bonds), Florence’s work was given space to finally flourish and develop further both her piano playing and composition skills. Florence was heavily influenced by her deep religion, as well as her passions for the deep romantics, such as Tchaikovsky and Dvorak.
Video of Price’s 5 Folk Songs performance (do you recognise any of the melodies?!):