Florence Price

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Florence Price
Price, date unknown
Florence Beatrice Smith

(1887-04-09)April 9, 1887
Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
DiedJune 3, 1953(1953-06-03) (aged 66)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Years active1899–1952
Thomas J. Price
(m. 1912; div. 1931)
Pusey Dell Arnett
(m. 1931; sep. 1934)

Florence Beatrice Price (née Smith; April 9, 1887 – June 3, 1953) was an American classical composer, pianist, organist and music teacher.[2] Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Price was educated at the New England Conservatory of Music, and was active in Chicago from 1927 until her death in 1953. Price is noted as the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra.[3] Price composed over 300 works: four symphonies, four concertos, as well as choral works, art songs, chamber music and music for solo instruments. In 2009, a substantial collection of her works and papers was found in her abandoned summer home.


Early life and education[edit]

Florence Beatrice Smith was born to Florence (Gulliver) and James H. Smith on April 9, 1887, in Little Rock, Arkansas,[4] one of three children in a mixed-race family. Her father was the only African-American dentist in the city, and her mother was a music teacher who guided Florence's early musical training.[5] Despite racial issues of the era, her family was well respected and did well within their community.[6] She gave her first piano performance at the age of four and had her first composition published at the age of 11.[7]: 34 

She attended school at a Catholic convent, and in 1901, at age 14, she graduated as valedictorian of her class.[8] In 1902, after high school, she enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts with a double major in organ and piano teaching.[8] Initially, she passed as Mexican to avoid racial discrimination against African Americans, listing her hometown as "Pueblo, Mexico".[7]: 54  At the Conservatory, she studied composition and counterpoint with composers George Chadwick and Frederick Converse.[3] Also while there, Smith wrote her first string trio and symphony. She graduated in 1906 with honors, and with both an artist diploma in organ and a teaching certificate.[9]


In 1910, Smith returned to Arkansas, where she taught briefly and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. There she became the head of the music department of what is now Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black college. In 1912, she married Thomas J. Price, a lawyer. She gave up her teaching position and moved back to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he had his practice and had two daughters.[6] She could not find work in the by now racially segregated town.

After a series of racial incidents in Little Rock, particularly a lynching of a Black man in 1927, the Price family decided to leave. Like many Black families living in the Deep South, they moved north in the Great Migration to escape Jim Crow conditions, and settled in Chicago, a major industrial city.[7]: 54 

According to her daughter, Florence really wanted to be a doctor but felt the difficulties of becoming a woman doctor at the time were too formidable. Instead, she became that even greater rarity—a woman composer of symphonies.[10]

There Florence Price began a new and fulfilling period in her composition career; she was part of the Chicago Black Renaissance. She studied composition, orchestration, and organ with the leading teachers in the city, including Arthur Olaf Andersen, Carl Busch, Wesley La Violette, and Leo Sowerby. She published four pieces for piano in 1928. While in Chicago, Price was at various times enrolled at the Chicago Musical College, Chicago Teacher's College, University of Chicago, and American Conservatory of Music, studying languages and liberal arts subjects as well as music.[7]: 98 

In 1930, an important early success occurred at the twelfth annual convention of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), when pianist-composer Margaret Bonds premiered Price's Fantasie nègre [No. 1] (1929) in its original version titled "Negro Fantasy". Of this performance, Carl Ditton wrote for the Associated Negro Press:

The surprise of the evening was a most effective composition by Mrs. F. B. Price, entitled 'A Negro Phantasy', played by the talented Chicago pianiste, Margaret Bonds. The entire association [i.e., NANM] could well afford to recommend this number to all advanced pianists.[11]

In 1931, financial struggles and abuse by her husband resulted in Price getting a divorce at age 44. She became a single mother to her two daughters. To make ends meet, she worked as an organist for silent film screenings and composed songs for radio ads under a pen name. During this time, Price lived with friends. She eventually moved in with her student and friend, Margaret Bonds, also a Black pianist and composer. This friendship connected Price with writer Langston Hughes and contralto Marian Anderson, both prominent figures in the art world who aided in Price's future success as a composer.[7]: 170  Together, Price and Bonds began to achieve national recognition for their compositions and performances.

In 1932, both Price and Bonds submitted compositions for the Wanamaker Foundation Awards. Price won first prize with her Symphony in E minor, and third for her Piano Sonata, earning her a $500 prize.[12] (Bonds came in first place in the song category, with a song entitled "Sea Ghost".)

Early in 1933 leading Arts advocate Maude Roberts George, president of the Chicago Music Association, music critic of The Chicago Defender and eventual national president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, paid $250 (about $5,093 in 2021 dollars) for Price's First Symphony to be included in a program devoted to "The Negro in Music", with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Frederick Stock, as part of the Century of Progress World's Fair.[13] Although this concert, like the Fair in general, was unmistakably tainted by the racism that characterized Chicago and the U.S. in general in the 1930s,[14] George's underwriting made Price the first African-American woman to have her music played by a major U.S. orchestra.[12][15][16][17] Later in that same season the Illinois Host House of the World's Fair devoted an entire program to Price and her music, a striking invitation given that Price had adopted Illinois as her home state only five years earlier.[7]: 149–50 

In 1934, Price represented her class at the Chicago Musical College, performing her Concerto in D minor for Piano and Orchestra as part of the 1934 commencement program. This performance was met with critical acclaim. She would go on to perform this Concerto at the National Association of Negro Musicians in Pittsburgh, gaining further critical praise from the Pittsburgh Press and the Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph. The Telegraph specifically praised Price's blending of her African American culture into her work, calling it "real American music."[18]

A number of Price's other orchestral works were played[when?] by the Works Progress Administration Symphony Orchestra of Detroit and the Women's Symphony Orchestra of Chicago.[19] On October 12, 1934, the Women's Symphony Orchestra of Chicago, a well known orchestra which uplifted women composers and performers, performed the Concerto. This began a long term association between the orchestra and Price. This partnership helped Price to gain recognition, and her Concerto in D minor would go on to be performed by other major symphonies within her lifetime, including the Chicago symphony and the Michigan Works Progress Administration Orchestra.[18]

In 1940, Price was inducted into the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers for her work as a composer. In 1949, Price published two of her spiritual arrangements, "I Am Bound for the Kingdom", and "I'm Workin' on My Buildin'", and dedicated them to Marian Anderson, who performed them on a regular basis.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In 1912, Price married prominent Arkansas attorney Thomas J. Price (also known as John Gray Lucas)[1][20][5] upon returning to Arkansas from Atlanta. Together, they had two daughters and a son: Florence (d. 1975[21]), Edith, and Thomas Jr.[21] The Price children were raised in Chicago.

Florence Price divorced Thomas Price in January 1931, and on February 14, 1931, she married the widower Pusey Dell Arnett (1875–1957), an insurance agent and former baseball player for the Chicago Unions some thirteen years her senior. She and Arnett were separated by April 1934; they apparently never divorced.[22]

On June 3, 1953, Price died from a stroke in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 66.[7]: 235 

Legacy and honors[edit]

Price Elementary School, Chicago

In 1964, the Chicago Public Schools opened Florence B. Price Elementary School (also known as Price Lit & Writing Elementary School) at 4351 South Drexel Boulevard in the North Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois in her honor.[23] Price Elementary's student body was predominately African-American. The school operated from 1964 until the school district decided to phase it out in 2011 due to poor academic performance, which ultimately led to its closing in 2013. The school housed a piano owned by Price. The school building currently houses a local church as of 2019.[24] In February 2019, The University of Arkansas Honors College held a concert honoring Price.[25][26] In October 2019, the International Florence Price Festival announced that its inaugural gathering celebrating Price's music and legacy would take place at the University of Maryland School of Music in August 2020.[27][28] From 4 to 8 January 2021, Price was the BBC Radio 3's Composer of the Week.

Following her death, much of her work was overshadowed as new musical styles emerged that fit the changing tastes of modern society. Some of her work was lost, but as more African-American and female composers gained attention for their works, so has Price. In 2001, the Women's Philharmonic created an album of some of her work.[29] In 2011, pianist Karen Walwyn and The New Black Repertory Ensemble performed Price's Concerto in One Movement and Symphony in E minor.[30][31]

Discovery of manuscripts in 2009[edit]

In 2009, a substantial collection of her works and papers was found in an abandoned dilapidated house on the outskirts of St. Anne, Illinois, which Price had used as a summer home.[32][33] These consisted of dozens of her scores, including her two violin concertos and her fourth symphony. As Alex Ross stated in The New Yorker in February 2018, "not only did Price fail to enter the canon; a large quantity of her music came perilously close to obliteration. That run-down house in St. Anne is a potent symbol of how a country can forget its cultural history."[34] Three settings of her work Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight were rediscovered in 2009; a setting for orchestra, organ, chorus, and soloists was premiered on April 12, 2019, by the Du Bois Orchestra and Lyricora Chamber Choir in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[35]

In November 2018, the music publisher G. Schirmer announced that it had acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to Florence Price's complete catalog.[36][37] In 2021, classical pianist Lara Downes initiated a project, Rising Sun Music, to draw attention to the influence of composers from a diversity of backgrounds upon American Classical music, assisted by producers such as Adam Abeshouse, to release newly recorded works of composers such as Price and Harry Burleigh, whose importance often has been lost in historical accounts of the development in the field.[38]

With the 2022 installment in the Catalyst Quartet's ongoing Uncovered series focusing on the music of Black composers comes nearly two hours' worth of Price's chamber music. "The most substantial piece, Price’s A-minor Quintet for Piano and Strings got its first recording just last year, courtesy of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective. Like that one, this performance impresses for its technical and expressive excellence: everything’s beautifully balanced and comes to life just as it should." Also from artsfuse.org's Jonathan Blumhofer: "Taken together, this is an album that’s at once musically significant but, more than that, thoroughly enjoyable. How tragic that, largely on account of her race and gender, Price’s music was almost erased. Yet how happy it is that revivals do happen – and how exciting that, thanks to the advocacy of groups like the Catalysts and musicians like [Michelle] Cann, we’re seeing a deserving composer finally taking her place in the American canon."[39]


Price was well received in her time, and was particularly celebrated in Chicago. However, even her positive reviews were influenced by the common belief of the time that many women were performers, and a woman composer was a novelty. As a result, several of Price's reviews focused more on her performing abilities than her compositional skills.[40]

She was cognizant of these issues. When writing to a composer she admired, Price prefaced her work with, "I have two handicaps - those of sex and race." She addressed these facts upfront in order to request a review of her work that was free of sexism or racism. Despite these challenges, Price received praise for the blending of both her traditional western education and African American culture in her music, and was seen as a pioneer for both her gender and race.[41]


Florence B. Price, 1942

Composition style[edit]

Even though her training was steeped in European tradition, Price's music is in an American idiom and reveals her Southern roots.[6] The strong influence of the composition style of Antonín Dvořák is often noticeable, e.g., in her first violin concerto.[citation needed] She wrote with a vernacular style, using sounds and ideas that fit the reality of urban society. Being a committed Christian, she frequently used the music of the African-American church as material for her arrangements. At the urging of her mentor George Whitefield Chadwick,[42] Price began to incorporate elements of African-American spirituals, emphasizing the rhythm and syncopation of the spirituals rather than just using the text. The melody in her first symphony was inspired by African-American spirituals but solidly rooted in instrumental writing. Compared with Dvorak's 9th symphony, the third movement is titled Juba Dance. This antebellum folk dance had already inspired European art music composers in its later manifestation the cakewalk, such as Debussy's "Golliwogg's Cakewalk" in Children's Corner (1908).[7]: 131  The weaving of tradition and modernism reflected the way life was for African Americans in large cities at the time.[citation needed]

Florence Price composed numerous works: four symphonies, four concertos, as well as choral works, plus art songs, and music for chamber and solo instruments, works for violin, organ anthems, piano pieces, spiritual arrangements, a piano concerto, and two violin concertos. Some of her more popular works are: "Three Little Negro Dances", "Songs to the Dark Virgin", "My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord" for piano or orchestra and voice, and "Moon Bridge". Price made considerable use of characteristic African-American melodies and rhythms in many of her works. In the program notes for her piano piece Three Little Negro Dances, Price wrote: "In all types of Negro music, rhythm is of preeminent importance. In the dance, it is a compelling, onward-sweeping force that tolerates no interruption... All phases of truly Negro activity—whether work or play, singing or praying—are more than apt to take on a rhythmic quality."[43]



  • Piano Concerto in D minor (1932–34); often referred to as Piano Concerto in One Movement although the work is in three separate movements
  • Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major (1939)
  • Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor (1952)
  • Rhapsody/Fantasie for piano and orchestra (date unknown, possibly incomplete)

Other orchestral works[edit]

  • Ethiopia's Shadow in America (1929–32)[44]
  • Mississippi River Suite (1934); although labelled as a "suite", the work is cast in one continuous large-scale movement, in which several famous Mississippi river songs are quoted, such as “Go Down, Moses”, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen” and "Deep River".
  • Chicago Suite (date unknown)
  • Colonial Dance Symphony (date unknown)
  • Concert Overture No. 1 (date unknown); based on the spiritual "Sinner, Please Don’t Let This Harvest Pass"[45]
  • Concert Overture No. 2 (1943); based on three spirituals ("Go Down, Moses", "Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit", "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen")[46]
  • The Oak, tone poem (1943);
  • Songs of the Oak, tone poem (1943);
  • Suite of Negro Dances (performed in 1951;[47] orchestral version of the Three Little Negro Dances for piano, 1933;[48]); also referred to as Suite of Dances
  • Dances in the Canebrakes (orchestral version of the piano work, 1953)


  • "The Moon Bridge" (M. R. Gamble), SSA, 1930;
  • "The New Moon", SSAA, 2 pf, 1930;
  • "The Wind and the Sea" (P. L. Dunbar), SSAATTBB, pf, str qt, 1934;
  • "Night" (Bessie Mayle), SSA, pf (1945)[49]
  • "Witch of the Meadow" (Gamble), SSA (1947);
  • "Sea Gulls", female chorus, fl, cl, vn, va, vc, pf, by 1951;
  • "Nature's Magic" (Gamble), SSA (1953);
  • "Song for Snow" (E. Coatsworth), SATB (1957);
  • "Abraham Lincoln walks at midnight" (V. Lindsay), mixed vv, orch, org;
  • "After the 1st and 6th Commandments", SATB;
  • "Communion Service", F, SATB, org;
  • "Nod" (W. de la Mare), TTBB;
  • Resignation (Price), SATB;
  • "Song of Hope" (Price);
  • "Spring Journey", SSA, str qt

Solo vocal (all with piano)[edit]

  • "Don't You Tell Me No" (Price) (between 1931 and 1934)[50][51]
  • "Dreamin' Town" (Dunbar), 1934;
  • 4 Songs, B-Bar, 1935;
  • "My Dream" (Hughes), 1935;
  • "Dawn's Awakening" (J. J. Burke), 1936;
  • Four Songs from The Weary Blues (Hughes) (April 26, 1935): "My Dream",[52] "Songs to the Dark Virgin", "Ardella", "Dream Ships".[53]"[54][55] [Note: The Weary Blues here refers to the anthology volume, not the title poem itself]
  • Monologue for the Working Class (Langston Hughes) (October 1941)[50][56][57]
  • "Hold Fast to Dreams" (Hughes), 1945;
  • "Night" (L. C. Wallace), (1946);
  • "Out of the South Blew a Wind" (F.C. Woods), (1946);
  • "An April Day" (J. F. Cotter), (1949);
  • "The Envious Wren" (A. and P. Carey);
  • "Fantasy in Purple" (Hughes);
  • "Feet o' Jesus" (Hughes);
  • "Forever" (Dunbar);
  • "The Glory of the Day was in her Face" (J. W. Johnson);
  • "The Heart of a Woman" (G. D. Johnson);[49]
  • "Love-in-a-Mist" (Gamble);
  • "Nightfall" (Dunbar); "Resignation" (Price), also arr. chorus;
  • "Song of the Open Road; Sympathy" (Dunbar);
  • "To my Little Son" (J. J. Davis);
  • "Travel's End" (M. F. Hoisington);
  • "Judgement Day" (Hughes)[49]
  • "Some o' These Days"[50]
  • about 90 other works

Instrumental chamber music[edit]

  • Andante con espressione (1929)[49]
  • String Quartet (No. 1) in G major (1929)[58]
  • Fantasie [No. 1] in G Minor for Violin and Piano (1933)[49]
  • String Quartet (No. 2) in A minor (published in 1935)[59][60]
  • Piano Quintet in E minor (1936)
  • Piano Quintet in A minor (1936?)
  • Five Folksongs in Counterpoint for String Quartet
  • Suite (Octet) for Brasses and Piano (1948–49)[61]
  • Fantasy [No. 2] in F-sharp Minor for Violin and Piano (1940)[50]
  • Moods, for Flute, Clarinet and Piano (1953)
  • Spring Journey, for 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass and piano

Works for piano[edit]

  • Tarantella (1926)[50]
  • Impromptu No. 1 (1926)[50]
  • Valsette Mignon (1926)[50]
  • Preludes (1926–32): No. 1 Allegro moderato; No. 2 Andantino cantabile; No. 3 Allegro molto; No. 4 [“Wistful”] Allegretto con tenerezza; No. 5 Allegro[50]
  • At the Cotton Gin (1927); published by G. Schirmer (New York), 1928
  • [Six Descriptive Pieces]: [No. 1] Little Truants (October 7, 1927); No. 2. Two Busy Little Hands; No. 3. Hard Problems (October 9, 1927); [No. 4.] Tittle Tattle; [No. 5] In Romance Land (October 24–25, 1927); [No. 6.] Hilda's Waltz (Oct. 26, 1927).[62]
  • Pensive Mood (March 3, 1928)[62]
  • Scherzo in G (May 24, 1929 [?])[50]
  • Song without Words in G Major (1928 or early 1930s)[50]
  • Meditation ([ca. 1929])[63][64]
  • Fantasie nègre [No. 1] (E minor) (1929, as "Negro Fantasy"; rev. 1931); based on the spiritual "Sinner, please don't let this harvest pass" (original version premiered September 3, 1930, by Margaret Bonds at twelfth annual convention of National Association of Negro Musicians, Chicago).[65]
  • On a Quiet Lake (June 23, 1929)[50][66]
  • Waltz of the Spring Maid (ca. early 1930s)[67][54]
  • Barcarolle (ca. 1929–32)[50]
  • His Dream (ca. 1930–31)[50]
  • Cotton Dance (Dance of the Cotton Blossoms) (1931)
  • Fantasie nègre No. 2 in G minor (March, 1932)[50][68][69]
  • Fantasie nègre No. 3 in F minor (March 30, 1932)(inc.)
  • Fantasie nègre No. 4 in B minor (April 5, 1932 – [ca. 1937]) (4 versions)[50][70][71]
  • Song without Words in A Major (April 21, 1932)[50]
  • Piano Sonata in E minor (1932)
  • Child Asleep (July 6, 1932)[50]
  • Etude [in C major] [ca. 1932][50][72]
  • 3 Little Negro Dances (1933); also arranged for concert band (1939);[73] for two pianos (1949); and for orchestra (before 1951)
  • Tecumseh (published by Carl Fischer, New York, 1935)[74]
  • Scenes in Tin Can Alley (ca. 1937): "The Huckster" (October 1, 1928), "Children at Play", "Night"[50]
  • 3 Sketches for little pianists (1937)
  • Arkansas Jitter (1938)
  • Bayou Dance (1938)
  • Dance of the Cotton Blossoms (1938)
  • Summer Moon (for Memry Midgett) (April 6, 1938)[50][75][76]
  • Down a Southern Lane (April 29, 1939)[50][77]
  • Joy in June (June 27, 1938)[54]
  • On a Summer's Eve (June 15, 1939)[50]
  • Rocking chair (1939)
  • Thumbnail Sketches of a Day in the Life of a Washerwoman (ca. 1938–40).[50] Two versions. First version consists of "Morning", "Dreaming at the Washtub", "A Gay Moment", and "Evening Shadows"; second version omits "Dreaming at the Washtub".[78]
  • Rowing: Little Concert Waltz [?1930s].[50]
  • [Ten Negro Spirituals for the Piano] [1937–42):[50] Let Us Cheer the Weary Traveler; I'm Troubled in My Mind; I Know the Lord Has Laid His Hands on Me; Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho; Gimme That Old Time Religion; Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; I Want Jesus to Walk with Me; Peter, Go Ring dem Bells; Were You There When They Crucified My Lord; Lord, I Want to Be a Christian
  • An Old Love Letter [ca. 1941].[54]
  • Remembrance (1941 or earlier) (to Mr. Henry S. Sawyer)[50][79]
  • Village Scenes (1942): "Church Spires in Moonlight", "A Shaded Lane", "The Park"[50][80]
  • Your Hands in Mine (1943) (originally titled Memory Lane)[50][81]
  • [Four Pieces for Piano Solo]: "Levee at Noontime – Barcarolle" (17 November 1943); "Little Miss Perky" (17 November 1943); "Smile, Smile!" (17 November 1943); "Fairy Fun (or Fairies' Frolic)" [originally "Little Toe Dancer"] (19 October 1943).[82]
  • Clouds [ca. 1940s][63][83][84][85]
  • Cotton Dance (Presto) ([ca. 1940s])[49]
  • 2 Fantasies on Folk Tunes (date unknown)
  • In Sentimental Mood (1947)[50][86][87]
  • Whim Wham (July 6, 1946)[63][88]
  • Placid Lake (July 17, 1947)[63]
  • Memories of Dixieland (1947); won Holstein Award, 1947
  • Sketches in Sepia (September, 1947)[50][89]
  • Rock-a-bye (1947)
  • [Six Piano Pieces] (11 and 12 November 1947)[54]
  • [Three Roses]: To a Yellow Rose, To a White Rose,[90] To a Red Rose (1949)[50][91]
  • To a Brown Leaf (1949)[50]
  • First Romance (ca. 1940s)[50][92]
  • Waltzing on a Sunbeam (ca. 1950[50]
  • The Goblin and the Mosquito (1951)
  • Snapshots (1952): I. Lake Mirror (13 October 1952), II. Moon behind a Cloud (17 July 1949), III. Flame (14 January 1949)[50][93]
  • Until We Meet (1952)[50]
  • Dances in the Canebrakes (1953); also orchestrated
  • about 70 teaching pieces


  • I'm Troubled in My Mind[49]
  • Pieces to a Certain Pair of Newlyweds [only No. 1][50]
  • Three Miniature Portraits of Uncle Ned (originally "Three Miniature Portraits of Uncle Joe"; later "Two Photographs" (second version performed 15 April 1948)[50][78]

Arrangements of spirituals[edit]

  • "My soul's been anchored in de Lord", 1v, pf (1937), arr. 1v, orch, arr. chorus, pf;
  • "Nobody knows the trouble I've Seen (Philadelphia: Theodore Presser, 1938);[50]
  • "Some o' These Days", 1v, pf[50]
  • Two Traditional Negro Spirituals, 1 v, pf (1940): "I Am Bound for the Kingdom" and "I'm Workin' on My Buildin'"[94] Her Concert Overture on Negro Spirituals, Symphony in E minor, and Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint for string quartet, all serve as excellent examples of her idiomatic work.[citation needed]
  • "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?", pf (1942);
  • "I am bound for the kingdom", 1v, pf (1948);
  • "I'm workin' on my building", 1v, pf job at Florida
  • "Heav'n bound soldier", male chorus, 1949 [2 arrs.];


  • "Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho" (ca. 1950)[50]
  • "Peter, Go Ring dem Bells" (undated)[49]
  • Variations on a Folksong (Peter, go ring dem bells)", org (1996);
  • "I couldn't hear nobody pray", SSAATTBB;
  • "Save me, Lord, save me", 1v, pf;
  • "Trouble done come my way", 1v, pf;
  • ?12 other works, 1v, pf
    • MSS of 40 songs in US-PHu; other MSS in private collections; papers and duplicate MSS in U. of Arkansas, Florida

Works for organ[edit]

(supplied by Calvert Johnson)

  • Adoration in The Organ Portfolio vol. 15/86 (December 1951), Dayton OH: Lorenz Publishing Co., 34–35.
  • Andante, July 24, 1952
  • Andantino
  • Allegretto
  • Cantilena March 10, 1951
  • Caprice
  • Dainty Lass, by November 19, 1936
  • Echoes of a Prayer (by July 14, 1950)
  • Festal March
  • First Sonata for Organ, 1927
  • The Hour Glass [formerly Sandman]. paired with Retrospection as No. 1
  • Hour of Peace or Hour of Contentment or Gentle Heart, November 16, 1951
  • In Quiet Mood [formerly Evening and then Impromptu], New York: Galaxy Music Corp, 1951 (dated Aug. 7, 1941)
  • Little Melody
  • Little Pastorale
  • Offertory in The Organ Portfolio vol. 17/130 (1953). Dayton OH: Lorenz Publishing Co., 1953
  • O Solemn Thought, by July 14, 1950
  • Passacaglia and Fugue, January, 1927
  • A Pleasant Thought, December 10, 1951
  • Prelude and Fantasie, by 1942
  • Retrospection [formerly An Elf on a Moonbeam], paired with The Hour Glass as No. 2
  • Steal Away to Jesus, by November 19, 1936
  • Suite No. 1, by April 6, 1942
  • Memory Mist (1949)[49]
  • Tempo moderato [no title], seriously damaged and possibly incomplete]
  • Variations on a Folksong
    • Principal publishers: Fischer, Gamble-Hinged, Handy, McKinley, Presser

Works for violin (with piano accompaniment)[edit]

  • Andante Con Espressione
  • Deserted Garden
  • Elfentanz
  • Fantasie in G minor for Violin and Piano (1933)


Selected recordings of compositions by Florence Price
Year Album Performers Label
1987 Althea Waites Performs the Piano Music of Florence Price[95]" Althea Waites Cambria Records
1993 Art Songs by American Composers Yolanda Marcoulescou-Stern Gasparo Records
1993 Black Diamonds Althea Waites Cambria Records
1997 Chicago Renaissance Woman: Florence B. Price Organ Works Calvert Johnson Calcante CAL 014
Here's One [Music for Violin and Piano by American Composers] (The Deserted Garden)[96] Zina Schiff; violin; Cameron Grant; piano 4-Tay Inc. 4TAY-CD-4005
2000 Negro Speaks of Rivers Odekhiren Amaize; David Korevaar Musician's Showcase
2001 Florence Price: The Oak; Mississippi River Suite; and Symphony No. 3 / Women’s Philharmonic Apo Hsu; Women's Philharmonic Koch International Classics
2006 Lucille Field Sings Songs by American Women Composers Lucille Field Cambria Records
2011 Florence B. Price: Concerto in One Movement and Symphony in E minor Leslie B Dunner; Karen Walwyn; New Black Repertory Ensemble Albany TROY1295
2013 Piano Phantoms (The Goblin and the Mosquito)[97] Michael Lewin; piano Sono Luminus DSL-92168
2018 Florence B. Price: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 (D major – 1939) and 2 (D minor – 1952) Er-Gene Kahng; Janacek Philharmonic; Ryan Cockerham Albany TROY1706
Florence B. Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 (E minor – 1932) and 4 (D minor – 1945)[98] Fort Smith Symphony; John Jeter Naxos American Classics
2019 Florence Price: The Deserted Garden (1933) and Elfentanz (undated) Dawn Wohn; violin and Esther Park; piano Perspectives; Delos Music DE 3547
Florence B. Price: Dances in the Canebrakes (Nimble Feet / Tropical Noon / Silk Hat and Walking Cane)[99] arranged by William Grant Still (1895–1978) for orchestra / Chicago Sinfonietta; Mei-Ann Chen Album Project W – Works by Woman Composers Cedille Records
Beyond the Traveler: Piano Music by Composers from Arkansas (Sonata in E minor) Cole Burger; piano MSR Classics
2020 Florence Price: Symphony No. 3 and Concert Overture No. 1 BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Michael Seal; BBC Symphony Orchestra; Valentina Peleggi BBC Music Magazine BBCMM454
Pioneers: Piano Works by Female Composers (Piano Sonata in E minor: II. Andante)[100] Hiroko Ishimoto; piano Grand Piano; HNH International GP844
2021 Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin Deutsche Grammophon
American Quintets: Amy Beach; Florence Price; Samuel Barber (Quintet; c. 1935)[101] Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective Chandos CHAN 20224
Florence Beatrice Price: Symphony No. 3 in C minor (1940); The Mississippi River (1934); Ethiopia's Shadow in America (1932)[102] ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; John Jeter Naxos Naxos 8 559897
Florence Price – Virtuoso and Poet Alan Morrison; organ ACA Digital Recordings; Inc. CM 20132
2023 Wander-Thirst: The Choral Music of Florence Price University of Arkansas Schola Cantorum; Dr. Stephen Caldwell Hill Records


Orchestral works[edit]

  • Adoration (1951/2024), arranged for orchestra by Kai Johannes Polzhofer[103]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Florence Price. Archived from the original on 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  2. ^ Ege, Samantha; Shadle, Douglas (April 7, 2023). "As Her Music Is Reconsidered, a Composer Turns 135. Again. – The work of Florence B. Price is having a renaissance, and new, foundational details about her life and racial identity are still being discovered". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Slonimsky, N. (ed.), The Concise Edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th edn, New York: Schirmer, 1994, p. 791.
  4. ^ Slonimsky (1994) gives 1888.
  5. ^ a b Ege, Samantha (2020). "Composing a Symphonist: Florence Price and the Hand of Black Women's Fellowship". Women & Music. 24 (1): 7–27. doi:10.1353/wam.2020.0010. S2CID 226592558 – via Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  6. ^ a b c Walker-Hill, Helen (1893). Piano Music by Black Women Composers. Darby, Pennsylvania: Greenwood Press. pp. 76–77.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Brown, Rae Linda (2020). The Heart of a Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0252043239.
  8. ^ a b James Greeson. "[excerpt] The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price". YouTube. Retrieved 2021-12-21.
  9. ^ Slonimsky and biography.com agree on 1906.
  10. ^ Jackson, Barbara Garvey (1977). "Florence Price, Composer". The Black Perspective in Music. 5 (1). JSTOR: 29–43. doi:10.2307/1214357. ISSN 0090-7790. JSTOR 1214357. OCLC 17360561.
  11. ^ *The Pittsburgh Courier* (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 6 September 1930.
  12. ^ a b Price, Florence (January 1, 2008) [1932]. Brown, Rae Linda; Shirley, Wayne D. (eds.). Symphonies nos. 1 and 3. A-R Editions. pp. xxxviii–xlv. ISBN 978-0895796387.
  13. ^ See "Program Notes on Florence B. Price for Chicago Symphony Orchestra's 'Rivers' Series by Barbara Wright-Pryor, President, Chicago Music Association, NANM, Inc.". John Malveaux Music.
  14. ^ See John Michael Cooper, "The Problem with Programs: Florence Price’s First Symphony, the 1933–34 World’s Fair, and Three Tribbles, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3
  15. ^ Oteri, Frank J. (January 17, 2012). "Sounds Heard: Florence B. Price—Concerto in One Movement; Symphony in E Minor". NewMusicBox. Archived from the original on June 23, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  16. ^ "The Price of Admission: A Musical Biography of Florence Beatrice Price". WQXR-FM. February 6, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  17. ^ Baranello, Micaela (February 9, 2018). "Welcoming a Black Female Composer Into the Canon. Finally". The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Maxile, Horace J. (2008). "Signs, Symphonies, Signifyin(G): African-American Cultural Topics as Analytical Approach to the Music of Black Composers". Black Music Research Journal. 28 (1): 123–138. ISSN 0276-3605. JSTOR 25433797.
  19. ^ Brown, Rae Linda (1993). "The Woman's Symphony Orchestra of Chicago and Florence B. Price's Piano Concerto in One Movement". American Music. 11 (2): 185–205. doi:10.2307/3052554. JSTOR 3052554.
  20. ^ "Biography". Florence Price. Archived from the original on 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  21. ^ a b "Who Was Florence Price?". Research Frontiers.
  22. ^ See Rae Linda Brown, "Lifting the Veil: The Symphonies of Florence B. Price", in Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3, ed. Rae Linda Brown and Wayne Shirley, Recent Researches in American Music, No. 66 [Middleton, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, 2008], xxxi,
  23. ^ Price, Florence (January 1, 2008). Symphonies nos. 1 and 3. A-R Editions, Inc. ISBN 9780895796387 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ "DNAinfo – Bronzeville Pastor Reviving Empty School – September 2013". Archived from the original on 2017-11-18. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  25. ^ "Honors College to Host Performance of Florence Price Violin Concerto and Duos". University of Arkansas News.
  26. ^ "Florence Price: A Tribute | University of Arkansas". fulbright.uark.edu. Archived from the original on 2022-02-14. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  27. ^ "International Florence Price Festival". The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Archived from the original on 2019-10-31. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  28. ^ "Festival Celebrates Trailblazing Composer Florence Price". International Florence Price Festival. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  29. ^ "At Last ! Music by Florence Price performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra | Women's Philharmonic Advocacy". wophil.org. 22 March 2019. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  30. ^ "Florence Price: Symphony No. 3, Mississippi River". Women's Philharmonic Advocacy. 4 January 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  31. ^ McQuiston, Bob (February 28, 2012). "Classical Lost and Found: Florence Price Rediscovered". NPR. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  32. ^ "After Lost Scores Are Found in Abandoned House, Musicians Give Life to Florence Price's Music". 4 May 2018.
  33. ^ "Florence Beatrice Smith Price (1887–1953) – Encyclopedia of Arkansas". www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  34. ^ Ross, Alex, "The Rediscovery of Florence Price", The New Yorker, February 5, 2018.
  35. ^ "The Lost World of Florence Price". The Boston Music Intelligencer. 18 April 2018. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  36. ^ "News – G. Schirmer Acquires Florence Price Catalog"
  37. ^ Michael Cooper, "A Rediscovered African-American Female Composer Gets a Publisher", The New York Times, Nov. 15, 2018
  38. ^ Beaugez, Jim, How Black Composers Shaped the Sound of American Classical Music, Smithsonian, February 5, 2021
  39. ^ Blumhofer, Jonathan (February 23, 2022). "Classical Music Album: Florence Price — "Uncovered, Vol. 2"". artsfuse.org. Retrieved 2022-02-28.
  40. ^ Schenbeck, Lawrence (1997). "Music, Gender, and "Uplift" in the "Chicago Defender", 1927-1937". The Musical Quarterly. 81 (3): 344–370. doi:10.1093/mq/81.3.344. ISSN 0027-4631. JSTOR 742322.
  41. ^ Ege, Samantha (2018). ""Florence Price and the Politics of Her Existence."" (PDF). The Kapralova Society Journal. 16 (1): 1.
  42. ^ Baranello, Micaela (2018-02-09). "Welcoming a Black Female Composer Into the Canon. Finally". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  43. ^ Jackson, Barbara Garvey (Spring 1977). "Florence Price, Composer". The Black Perspective in Music. 5 (1). JSTOR: 30–43. doi:10.2307/1214357. ISSN 0090-7790. JSTOR 1214357. OCLC 17360561.
  44. ^ Recorded by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under conductor Daniel Blendulf; broadcast for International Women's Day on BBC Radio 3's Live in Concert program of March 8, 2015.
  45. ^ "Concert Overture No. 1 | Florence Price". www.wisemusicclassical.com.
  46. ^ "Concert Overture No. 2". englisch.
  47. ^ "Priceline". Jordan Randall Smith. 14 June 2018.
  48. ^ "Collection: Florence Beatrice Smith Price Papers Addendum | ArchivesSpace at the University of Arkansas". uark.as.atlas-sys.com.
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h i ed. John Michael Cooper (New York: G. Schirmer, 2019)
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ed. John Michael Cooper (New York: G. Schirmer, 2020)
  51. ^ World-premiere recording by Christine Jobson on Nearly Lost: Art Songs by Florence Price (N2A Publishing, 2019).
  52. ^ Hughes: "Dream Variation"
  53. ^ Hughes: "Water-Front Streets"
  54. ^ a b c d e ed. John Michael Cooper (New York: G. Schirmer, 2021)
  55. ^ John Michael Cooper. "Four Songs from The Weary Blues". wisemusicclassical.com. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  56. ^ see “Florence Price and Langston Hughes Cast a Ballot for the Working Class”, Journeys (blog), October 27, 2020.s
  57. ^ Perf. Justin Hopkins and Jeanne-Minette Cilliers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uoX_9WMGbo)
  58. ^ "To Be Rediscovered When You Were Never Forgotten: Florence Price and The "Rediscovered" Composer (Tropes of Black Composers, Part One)". Harry T. Burleigh Society. Archived from the original on 2021-04-19. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  59. ^ "Arkansas Democrat Gazette". www.arkansasonline.com.
  60. ^ new edition, ed. John Michael Cooper (New York: G. Schirmer, 2019)
  61. ^ ""The Musical Artistry of Florence Price: Hidden Figure No More", by Prof. Linda Holzer" (PDF).
  62. ^ a b ed. John Michael Cooper, in Seven Descriptive Pieces (New York: G. Schirmer, 2020)
  63. ^ a b c d ed. John Michael "Cooper (New York: G. Schirmer, 2020)
  64. ^ Recorded by Lara Downes (Flipside Records FL0018 [2020])
  65. ^ *The Pittsburgh Courier*, September 6, 1930.
  66. ^ "On A Quiet Lake". 31 January 2020 – via open.spotify.com.
  67. ^ ed. Barbara Garvey Jackson (Fayetteville, Arkansas: ClarNan, 2017)
  68. ^ Recorded by Lara Downes, Flipside Music FL0024 [2020])
  69. ^ See John Michael Cooper, “Full Circle: On the Recovery of Florence B. Price’s Fantasie nègre No. 2”, Journeys (blog), March 22, 2020.
  70. ^ Posthumous premiere by Lara Downes at New England Conservatory, November 1, 2019
  71. ^ Recorded by Lara Downes (Flipside Music FL0017 [2020])
  72. ^ See John Michael Cooper, “Florence Price, Teacher”, Journeys (blog), July 14, 2020.
  73. ^ This band arrangement by Erik Leidzen is first advertised by publisher Theodore Presser in Music Educators Journal, October 1939, 47.
  74. ^ "Florence Beatrice Price, Compositeur afro-américain". chevalierdesaintgeorges.homestead.com.
  75. ^ See John Michael Cooper, “Summer Moon: Reflections on a Little-Known Gem by Florence Price”, Journeys (blog), May 17, 2020.
  76. ^ "Spotify". open.spotify.com.
  77. ^ "Down A Southern Lane". 31 January 2020 – via open.spotify.com.
  78. ^ a b See John Michael Cooper, “Florence Price and Racist Stereotypes”, Journeys (blog), July 16, 2020.
  79. ^ "Remembrance". 17 January 2020 – via open.spotify.com.
  80. ^ See John Michael Cooper, "Florence Price and Tranquility", Journeys (blog), July 13, 2020.
  81. ^ "Your Hands In Mine". 14 February 2020 – via open.spotify.com.
  82. ^ ed. John Michael Cooper (New York: G. Schirmer, 2021).
  83. ^ premiered by Lara Downes at New England Conservatory, November 1, 2019
  84. ^ Recorded by Lara Downes (Flipside Records FL0018 [2020])
  85. ^ See John Michael Cooper, "Florence B. Price: Clouds", Journeys (blog), April 8, 2020.
  86. ^ Recorded by Lara Downes (Flipside Records FL0020 [2020])
  87. ^ See John Michael Cooper, "In Sentimental Mood: A Mash-Up by Florence B. Price", Journeys (blog), April 8, 2020.
  88. ^ See John Michael Cooper, “The Joy of Whimsy: Rediscovering Another Facet of Florence Price’s Musical Imagination”, Journeys (blog), August 7, 2020.
  89. ^ "Sketches in Sepia". 17 January 2020 – via open.spotify.com.
  90. ^ Two separate compositions bear the title To a White Rose and were conceived as part of this set.
  91. ^ Recorded by Lara Downes (Flipside Records FL0020] [2020]): To a Yellow Rose; To a White Rose (Version B); To a Red Rose
  92. ^ Recorded by Lara Downes (Flipside Records 0020 [2020)
  93. ^ See John Michael Cooper, “Florence Price and the Art of Musical Storytelling: Snapshots for Piano Solo”, Journeys (blog), August 7, 2020.
  94. ^ "MoMA QNS in New York Architects: Michael Maltzan architecture, Los Angeles, Cooper, Robertson & Partners, New York", Building in Existing Fabric, München: DETAIL – Institut für internationale Architektur-Dokumentation GmbH & Co. KG, 2003, doi:10.11129/detail.9783034614894.130, ISBN 978-3-0346-1489-4
  95. ^ de Lerma, Dominique-René (1988). "Music Review: Althea Waites Performs the Piano Music of Florence Price". The Black Perspective in Music. 16 (1): 117. doi:10.2307/1215135. JSTOR 1215135.
  96. ^ "Here's One | Jeffrey James Arts Consulting". Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  97. ^ "Piano Recital: Lewin; Michael – NIEMANN; W.R. / LYAPUNOV; S.M. / GRIEG; E. / TAUSIG; C. / MEDTNER; N. / DVORAK; A. (Piano Phantoms) – DSL-92168". www.naxos.com. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  98. ^ "PRICE; F.B.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4 (Fort Smith Symphony; Jeter) – 8.559827". www.naxos.com. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  99. ^ "Orchestral Music – PRICE; F.B. / ASSAD; C. / MONTGOMERY; J. / ESMAIL; R. / HIGDON; J. (Project W) (Chicago Sinfonietta; Mei-Ann Chen) – CDR90000-185". www.naxos.com. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  100. ^ "Piano Recital: Ishimoto; Hiroko – BACKER GRØNDAHL; A. / B?DARZEWSKA-BARANOWSKA; T. / BEACH; A. / BON; A. (Pioneers – Piano Works by Female Composers) – GP844". www.naxos.com. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  101. ^ "American Quintets Strings Chamber Chandos". Chandos Records. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  102. ^ "PRICE; F.B.: Symphony No. 3 / The Mississippi River / Ethiopia's Shadow in America (ORF Vienna Radio Symphony; Jeter) – 8.559897". www.naxos.com. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  103. ^ "Edition Gravis - Adoration eg3099LM". www.editiongravis.de.

Additional sources[edit]

  • Ammer, Christine. Unsung: A History of Women in American Music. Portland Oregon, Amadeus Press, 2001
  • Brown, Rae Linda. Grove Music 2001. Accessed March 15, 2007.
  • Brown, Rae Linda. "William Grant Still, Florence Price, and William Dawson: Echoes of the Harlem Renaissance", in Samuel A. Floyd, Jr (ed.), Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990, pp. 71–86.
  • Ege, Samantha. "Florence Price and the Politics of Her Existence", Kapralova Society Journal 16, no. 1 (Spring 2018): 1–10.
  • "Florence Beatrice Smith Price", Biography.com. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  • Mashego, Shana Thomas. Music from the Soul of Woman: The Influence of the African American Presbyterian and Methodist Traditions on the Classical Compositions of Florence Price and Dorothy Rudd Moore. DMA, The University of Arizona, 2010.
  • Perkins, Holly Ellistine. Biographies of Black Composers and Songwriters; A Supplementary Textbook. Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Publishers, 1990.
  • "Price, Florence Beatrice", Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2006. Encyclopedia.com. December 1, 2014.
  • Slonimsky, Nicolas (ed.) (1994), The Concise Edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th edn, New York: Schirmer, p. 791.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, Rae Linda (1987). Selected orchestral music of Florence B. Price (1888–1953) in the context of her life and work. Yale University.
  • Brown, Rae Linda (2020). The Heart of a Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0252043239.
  • Green, Mildred Denby (1983). Black women composers : a genesis (1. print. ed.). Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 9780805794502.
  • Phelps, Shirelle; Smith, Jessie C. (1992). Notable Black American women. Detroit: Gale Research. ISBN 9780810347496.

External links[edit]