Wednesday, April 17, 2019 MYS Performs 1st Symphony of Florence Price in Portland

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

Los Angeles

April 15, 2019

This May, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony illuminates the diversity of our nation's rich cultural tapestry with the program "America's Florence."

Named for the pioneering African-American composer Florence Price, this concert features what is believed to be the West Coast Premiere of her Symphony No. 1 in E minor, winner of the first place prize for an orchestral work in the progressive Rodman Wanamaker Competition of 1932. Premiered the following year by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, this was the first symphony by an African-American woman ever to be performed by a major American orchestra. By marrying the finesse of her traditional, European style training with the raw and soulful qualities of African-American folk music, Price charmingly and very effectively captured the spirit of an era in American history. In 2012, Bob McQuiston of NPR wrote that "this is an early American symphony worthy of being rediscovered." His description reads:

"The opening movement... recalls Dvorák's New World Symphony, while the following slow movement features a moving hymn tune of Price's design. Both concluding movements are fast and return to the juba dance concept. They contain hints of fiddles and banjos, antic slide whistle effects, and a recurring three-against-two melody which end this loveable work on a whimsical note."

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