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The Florence Price Project

Florence Price is recognized as the first African-American woman symphonic composer. Her prize-winning Symphony in E minor was premiered in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. During her lifetime, she composed more than 300 works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo piano and organ, voice and more. Her music was played in concert halls across the United States and Europe, and the legendary singer Marian Anderson performed Price's work regularly, including during her famous outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial for more than 75,000 people in 1939.

After her death in 1953, Price's music and legacy faded into history until 2009 when new owners of her long-abandoned summer house outside St. Anne, Illinois discovered a significant body of her papers and manuscripts. Musicians began to edit and print these manuscripts for performance and recording. In 2018, music publisher G. Schirmer purchased all of Price's works and is working to publish them for broad availability. 

The SLSO is among professional orchestras, chamber groups and individual artists across the country working to re-introduce Florence Price, her music and her legacy to the public. Since 2018, musicians of your SLSO have performed her work during Sunday worship services for more than 4,000 congregants at IN UNISON partner churches. On May 31, 2020, the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement with guest pianist Lara Downes, introducing Price's work to the next generation of musicians. This performance will be recorded by NPR’s From the Top for national broadcast to more than a half million people. And in April 2021, SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève will lead the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in performances of Ms. Price’s third symphony for thousands at Powell Hall.

Performances of the music of Florence Price are supported by the W H I T A K E R  F O U N D A T I O N

 


Composer Florence Beatrice Smith Price
(1887-1953)