Essay on Florence B Price Biography
Number of words: 1123
Florence Beatrice (Smith) Price was born on April 9, 1987, in a city called little rock, Arkansas, and later died on June 3, 1953, Chicago Illinois. She is known as the first black female musician who had her symphony performed by the major American orchestra in 1933 in E minor concert during the Chicago’s century progress that was running from June 14th to June 17th (Hobbs& Erin 40). Florence b composed over 50 songs that were later sung by a great artist such as Marian Anderson. Florence was curious at the tender age and learned how to play piano at the age of 4 years old with the help of her mum who was a teacher and makes her unique in the classical world of music. She even went to school with some of the great musical artists too like William Grant still who inspired her to venture into this sizeable classic world. She, later on, graduated from Capitol high school as a valedictorian at the teenage age of 14 with excellent skills of the published composer of songs (Carter&Marquese, 72).
Smith attended New England Conservatory of Music where she studied music as a passionate course and later on become a music teacher just like her mum and later on she was promoted to being the head of the music department in Clark University in the year 1910. In 1912 Smith moved back to her born town to continue with her career of teaching music and composing them at the same time and got married to the Attorney on September 25, 1912. They later had a nuclear family of two daughters and one son who later on died in infancy (Hobbs& Erin 40). In little rock she made her music studio started piano lessons and wrote some short pieces of the piano. Florence was a victim of racism in that she was denied access to Arkansas state music teachers association in her birth town which forced her to change her residential home and move to Chicago Illinois in 1927.due to some financial problems Price was forced to divorce with her husband, and everyone continued with the career life. Florence pursued her passion for music at American conservatory of music and Chicago musical college where she decided to stay there as a teacher, pianist, and organist in 1928.
At some point, Florence was forced by the massive financial crisis that forced her to share a room with one of her student Margret Bonds where they worked as song composers for radio advertisements and also as organist for silent film screenings. This struggle made Price strong and more dedicated to making ends meet even though the going was hard. Smith handwork made her songs for the piano to be published by the end of the 1920s and this opened ways for her career growth. As the time went by Smith continued with her job of publishing songs and later broke her foot, this paved the way for to have a lot of quiet time at home to complete the composition of “Symphony in E Minor” which won the 1932 Wanamaker prize. In June during the process of the concert, her songs were performed, and this made history both nationally and internationally since she was the first African-American female to be played by significant symphony while she danced along the piano during the performance. She was inducted into the American society of composers and publishers in 1940 by the fact that she composed over 300 songs (Hobbs& Erin, 67)
With her orchestral art/work price wrote a lot of short pieces which were sung by the likes of Marian Anderson and done covers by great vocalists such as Leontyne and William. Marian Anderson was a great friend of Florence, and with this strong friendship bonding, she was able to sing her songs at the concerts which were later concluded with the Negro spirituals. Some of the smith’s work was written for particular instruments; she proceeded with the writing of art songs and choruses that were performed on different radio stations.
Price was made favorite back home by her national and international recognition in 1935, which made the Alumni Association of Philander Smith college to sponsor her return to Arkansas where they billed her as the “noted musician of Chicago” and later presenting her in a big concert performed by her own artistic composed song at Dunbar high school (Carter&Marquese, 72). Price’s musical style is a unique one, and that’s why it’s so famous in the recent history. The music style consists of different mixtures from different cultures which may have a reflection of classical Europeans music and also with some spiritual sounds of blacks which has the rhythm that is connected with the heritage of Africa including juba dance. Price’s artistic work was greatly influenced by her southern heritage that used to talk about her birth town and some of the African cultures like Bayou dance.
Florence’s death became a surprise to all since it was unexpected by most of her fans and mostly by the American citizens. She died out of stroke in Chicago Illinois while planning her trip to go and perform in Europe (Tsou& Judy, 192). Her death made her more famous since most of the organization planned on how to make her legacy live forever by even naming some institutions after her name like Chicago elementary school. Later on Arkansas women’s hall, fame inducted price’s work and she was honored by the association she was denied membership due to racism when she was living there. Despite her death, her work is being recognized the entire world by other female composers who do her music cover (Carter&Marquese, 72).
To sum it up this paper has shown the real-life history of a legend that his music work is inspirational to most of the young upcoming musicians. Florence’s Talent to be able to play piano and compose songs is one of the abilities that lacks in most of the today’s world artists that try to follow in her footsteps. Price’s work is still recognized in today’s music world by Karen Walwyn and the new black repertory ensemble. Price’s songs are always rated one of the best artistic work in the past centuries and today’s generation since was one of the professional composure out of passion and academic achievements.
Carter, Marquese. Uncaged: Contextualizing and Appreciating the Art Songs of Florence B. Price. Diss. School of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Music, Indiana University, 2016:20-100
Hobbs, Erin. Rehearing Florence Price: A Closer Look at Her Symphony in E Minor. California State University, Long Beach, 2017:30-130
Tsou, Judy. “The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.” (2001): 190-194.