Sunday, June 28, 2015

University of Arkansas Little Rock: Hear Florence Price’s heroic, virtuoso 'Piano Sonata in E Minor' now on 'A Celebration of American Music' by Linda Holzer, piano

Dr. Linda Holzer
Coordinator of Classical Piano Studies
Music Department
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Florence B. Price was the first African-American woman composer to have her music performed by a major symphony. She was also a Little Rock native.  (Credit University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections)

Florence B. Price is the second of three American Women Composers heard on A Celebration of American Music, a special program of piano and piano chamber music. It will air on KLRE Classical 90.5 Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 7 p.m. and again Friday, July 3, 2015 at 7 p.m. Audio of the program will be accessible on this page following the first broadcast. 

Florence B. Price (1887-1953) is profiled at,  which features a comprehensive Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, 

Florence Price (1887-1953), a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, was a pioneer in the field of American classical music in the early twentieth century. She became the first black woman composer to earn an international reputation for her work, and was among the first American composers to integrate her Negro heritage with Western art music. Price's father, Dr. James H. Smith, was a dentist, and her mother, Florence Gulliver, was a school teacher with some musical training who was her daughter’s first piano teacher. Young Florence Smith was an excellent student, and graduated from Capitol High School in Little Rock in 1903 as the valedictorian of her class. She traveled to Boston and enrolled at the New England Conservatory of Music, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1906. This institution was among the few professional music schools in the country that accepted students regardless of race. She taught on the music faculties of historically black colleges in Georgia and Arkansas for several years.

In 1912 Florence Smith married attorney Thomas J. Price and the couple settled in Little Rock, where Thomas Price was partner in a law firm. His law firm was involved in several contentious civil rights cases, including the Elaine Race Riot Case in 1919. The Prices decided to move north to Chicago in 1926. Having lived in Boston during her student days at the New England Conservatory, Florence Price quickly found ways to take advantage of Chicago's cultural riches and the thriving artistic contingent of the urban black community. Among the pieces she composed in Chicago was the formidable Piano Sonata in E Minor (1932). Shortly after that, she won the Wanamaker Award for her 1st symphony, which was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933 as part of the World’s Fair, known as “A Century of Progress.” The performance was attended by First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, who wrote about it in her column, “My Day.” Price’s heroic, virtuoso Piano Sonata in E Minor is featured on A Celebration of American Music program. Performer is Linda Holzer, piano, in concert at UALR.

Comment by email:
Thank you, Bill.  If you’d like to add this link to the blog, it includes the MP3 of the broadcast.  

Even if someone wasn’t able to tune in for the 7 PM broadcast today, KLRE is making the full hour program available on their web site via MP3. Thanks very much, Linda Holzer

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By Eunice Mullins (@elm57

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