Happy Tuesday, Everyone. today’s featured composer is Florence Beatrice Price.
Florence Beatrice Price was an award-winning pianist and composer who became the first African-American woman to have her work performed by a major symphony.
Born in Arkansas in 1887, Florence Beatrice Price gave her first piano performance at the age of 4. She went on to attend the New England Conservatory of Music and would eventually settle in Chicago. There, her award-winning “Symphony in E Minor” was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, paving the way for more of her work to be commissioned by orchestras both domestically and abroad. Over the years, luminaries like Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price sang her compositions as well. A major contributor to classical music, Price died on June 3, 1953, in Chicago, Illinois.
Early Life and Training
Florence Beatrice Smith was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 9, 1887, to Florence Gulliver and James H. Smith. With her mother being a music teacher, the younger Florence learned how to play piano as a child, as did her two siblings, and Florence gave her first recital at 4 years old. She attended the same elementary school as William Grant Still, another future classical music great, and both studied under educator Charlotte Andrews Stephens. By the time Smith graduated from Capitol High School as valedictorian at age 14, she had become a published composer.