Florence Price

The first black American woman to have an orchestral piece played by a major American orchestra, Florence Bea Price’s reputation grew to importance in the 1930s alongside her colleagues William Grant Still and William Dawson.

Photo: Florence Price, photograph by G. Nelidoff.

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    About

    Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Price began her studies at New England Conservatory starting at the age of 16 and took private lessons from George Whitfield Chadwick as well. After earning her Artist’s Diploma in organ and a piano teacher’s diploma, she returned to the South and taught in two schools before heading the music department at Clark University in Atlanta. She married in 1912, returning to Little Rock for several years, and in 1926, Price and her family moved to Chicago.

    In Chicago, she began studying at the American Conservatory, initiating a compositionally prolific and creative period of her life. In 1932, she rose to national prominence when her Symphony in E minor won the Wanamaker competition and was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A short while later, Marian Anderson performed Price’s My Soul’s Been Anchored in de Lord and Songs to the Dark Virgin, increasing Price’s fame. She continued to teach and compose up until her death.

    Price is best known for her songs, sung by many prominent singers of her day, including Leontyne Price, Blanche Thebom, and Etta Moten. Her compositional style combines contemporary influences, such as those of the Harlem Renaissance and African-American cultural heritage, with neo-Romanticism, which was popular among composers at that time. According to the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, over 300 of her compositions, mostly songs and piano pieces, still remain unpublished.

    –Christie Finn

    Related Information

    Songs

    A Flea and a Fly

    Florence Price

    Ogden Nash

    Song Collection: Four Encore Songs

    A White Rose

    Florence Price

    John Boyle O’Reilly

    An April Day

    Florence Price

    Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr.

    Because

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Beside the Sea

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Bewilderment

    Florence Price

    Langston Hughes

    “Come, come,” said Tom’s Father

    Florence Price

    Song Collection: Four Encore Songs

    Dawn's Awakening

    Florence Price

    James Joseph Burke

    Dreamin' Town

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Fantasy in Purple

    Florence Price

    Langston Hughes

    Song Collection: Five Art Songs

    Feet o' Jesus

    Florence Price

    Langston Hughes

    Five Art Songs

    Song Collection

    Florence Price

    Langston Hughes

    Mary Folwell Hoisington

    Julia Johnson Davis

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Forever

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Four Encore Songs

    Song Collection

    Florence Price

    Graham Lee Hemminger

    Ogden Nash

    Go Down, Moses

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    Hold Fast To Dreams

    Florence Price

    Langston Hughes

    Song Collection: Five Art Songs

    I Am Bound for the Kingdom

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    Song Collection: Two Traditional Negro Spirituals

    I Grew a Rose

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    I'm Goin' to Lay Down My Heavy Load

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    I'm Workin' on My Buildin'

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    Song Collection: Two Traditional Negro Spirituals

    Love-in-a-mist

    Florence Price

    Mary Rolofson Gamble

    My Dream

    Florence Price

    Langston Hughes

    My Little Soul’s Goin’ to Shine

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    My Neighbor

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    Night

    Florence Price

    Louise C. Wallace

    Out of the South Blew a Wind

    Florence Price

    Fannie Carter Woods

    Resignation

    Florence Price

    Florence Price

    Rise Mourner

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    Save Me Lord, Save Me

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    Some o' These Days

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    Song of the Open Road

    Florence Price

    Ogden Nash

    Song Collection: Four Encore Songs

    Songs to the Dark Virgin

    Florence Price

    Langston Hughes

    Sunset

    Florence Price

    Odessa P. Elder

    Sympathy

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Song Collection: Five Art Songs

    The Glory of the Day was in Her Face

    Florence Price

    James Weldon Johnson

    The Heart of a Woman

    Florence Price

    Georgia Douglas Johnson

    The Moon Bridge

    Florence Price

    Mary Rolofson Gamble

    The Poet and His Song

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The Washerwoman

    Florence Price

    Otto Leland Bohanan

    To My Little Son

    Florence Price

    Julia Johnson Davis

    Song Collection: Five Art Songs

    Tobacco

    Florence Price

    Graham Lee Hemminger

    Song Collection: Four Encore Songs

    Travel's End

    Florence Price

    Mary Folwell Hoisington

    Song Collection: Five Art Songs

    Trouble Done Come My Way

    Florence Price

    Florence Price

    Two Traditional Negro Spirituals

    Song Collection

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    We Have Tomorrow

    Florence Price

    Langston Hughes

    Weary Traveler

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    What's the Use?

    Florence Price

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Words For a Spiritual

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    You Won't Find a Man Like Jesus

    Florence Price

    Spiritual

    Videos

    Recordings

    Nearly Lost: Art Songs by Florence Price

    (Florence Price)

    2019

    Songs from Chicago

    (Ernst Bacon, Margaret Bonds, John Alden Carpenter, Louis Campbell-Tipton and Florence Price)

    2018


    View recording

    I, Too

    (H. Leslie Adams, Margaret Bonds, Undine Smith Moore, Florence Price and Hall Johnson)

    2012

    Songs of America: Oral Moses

    (Aaron Copland, Florence Price and Howard Swanson)

    2007

    Dreamer - A Portrait of Langston Hughes

    (Margaret Bonds, William Grant Still, Kurt Weill, Henry Burleigh, Robert Owens, John Musto, Ricky Ian Gordon, Howard Swanson, Jean Berger, Erik Santos and Florence Price)

    2001

    Ah! Love, But A Day

    (Amy Marcy Beach, Margaret Bonds, Libby Larsen, Margaret Ruthven Lang, Undine Smith Moore, Florence Price, Gladys Rich and Gwyneth Van Anden Walker)

    1998

    The Negro Speaks of Rivers

    (H. Leslie Adams, Margaret Bonds, Charles Samuel Brown, Undine Smith Moore, Robert Owens, George Walker, Howard Swanson, Florence Price, Henry Clay Work and Cecil Cohen)

    1998

    Lucille Field sings Songs by American Women

    (Ruth Crawford Seeger, Miriam Gideon and Florence Price)

    1987

    Books

    Sheet Music

    An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Songs - 60 Songs

    Composer(s): H. Leslie Adams, David N. Baker, Margaret Bonds, Charles Brown, H. T. Burleigh, Valerie Capers, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Arthur Cunningham, Harriette Davison Watkins, William Dawson, Mark Fax, Bruce Forsythe, Antônio Carlos Gomes, Adolphus Hailstork, Jacqueline Hairston, Maud Cuney Hare, Jeraldine Herbison, Jonathan Holland, Sylvia Hollifield, Langston Hughes, J. Rosamond Johnson, Thomas Kerr, Lena McLin, Undine Smith Moore, Andre Myers, Camille Nickerson, Fred Onovwerosuoke, Eurydice Osterman, Robert Owens, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Zenobia Powell Perry, Rosephanye Powell, Florence Price, Dave Ragland, Nadine Shanti, Carlos Simon, Hale Smith, Irene Britton Smith, Brandon Spencer, Hilbert Stewart, Howard Swanson, George Walker, Aurelia Young

    Song(s): Amazing Grace (H. Leslie Adams)
    Christmas Lullaby (H. Leslie Adams)
    Sence You Went Away (H. Leslie Adams)
    The Heart of a Woman (H. Leslie Adams)
    The Alarm Clock (David N. Baker)
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers (Margaret Bonds)
    Caring (Charles Brown)
    Desire (Charles Brown)
    Your Eyes So Deep (H. T. Burleigh)
    Your Lips Are Wine (H. T. Burleigh)
    Autumn (Valerie Capers)
    Elëanore (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)
    The Willow Song (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)
    Minakesh (Arthur Cunningham)
    Stars (Harriette Davison Watkins)
    Out in the Fields (William Dawson)
    The Refused (Mark Fax)
    With Rue My Heart Is Laden (Bruce Forsythe)
    Suspiro d’alma (Antônio Carlos Gomes)
    If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking (Adolphus Hailstork)
    Longing (Adolphus Hailstork)
    Loveliest of Trees (Adolphus Hailstork)
    Dormi, Jesu (Jacqueline Hairston)
    Gardé Piti Mulet Là (Maud Cuney Hare)
    I’ll Not Forget (Jeraldine Herbison)
    Little Elegy (Jonathan Holland)
    In Time of Silver Rain (Sylvia Hollifield)
    The Founding Fathers (Langston Hughes)
    This is My Land (Langston Hughes)
    L’il Gal (J. Rosamond Johnson)
    Soliloquy (Thomas Kerr)
    Amazing Grace (Lena McLin)
    The Year’s at the Spring (Lena McLin)
    I Am in Doubt (Undine Smith Moore)
    I Want to Die While You Love Me (Undine Smith Moore)
    For a Poet (Andre Myers)
    Chere, Mo Lemmé Toi (Camille Nickerson)
    Gué, Gué, Solingaie (Camille Nickerson)
    Mshila (Fred Onovwerosuoke)
    Entreaty (I Am the Rose of Sharon) (Eurydice Osterman)
    Could I but Ride Indefinite (Robert Owens)
    Die Nacht (Robert Owens)
    From the Dark Tower (Robert Owens)
    The Lynching (Robert Owens)
    The Secret (Robert Owens)
    Madrigal (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
    O Children of Men (Zenobia Powell Perry)
    I Want to Die While You Love Me (Rosephanye Powell)
    Spring (Florence Price)
    The Sum (Florence Price)
    Martin Luther King, Jr. (Dave Ragland)
    Mangez, Boulez (Eat, Drink, Be Merry) (Nadine Shanti)
    Prayer (Carlos Simon)
    Troubled Woman (Hale Smith)
    Why Fades a Dream? (Irene Britton Smith)
    Dream Variations (Brandon Spencer)
    Spring Song (Hilbert Stewart)
    One Day (Howard Swanson)
    I Went to Heaven (George Walker)
    Norris Swamp (Aurelia Young)

    Voice Type: 36 Songs are for High Voice - Medium to High Voice
    24 Songs are for Medium - Medium to Low Voice

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Florence Price: 44 Art Songs and Spirituals

    Composer(s): Florence Price

    Song(s): A White Rose (John Boyle O'Reilly)
    An April Day (Joseph Cotter)
    Because (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
    Beside the Sea (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
    Bewilderment (Langston Hughes)
    Dawn's Awakening (James Joseph Burke)
    Death's Gwineter Lay His Cold Icy Hand on Me (Spiritual)
    Feet o' Jesus (Langston Hughes)
    Four Encore Songs: Tobacco (Graham Lee Hemminger); A Flea and a Fly (Ogden Nash); "Come, come," said Tom's Father (Thomas Moore); Song of the Open Road (Ogden Nash)
    Go Down, Moses (Spiritual)
    God Gives Me You (Nora Connelly)
    Hold Fast to Dreams (Langston Hughes)
    I Grew a Rose (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
    I'm Goin' to Lay Down My Heavy Load (Spiritual)
    Love-in-a-mist (Mary Rolofson Gamble)
    My Little Soul's Goin' to Shine (Spiritual)
    My Neighbor (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
    My Soul's Been Anchored in de Lord (Spiritual)
    Night (Louise C. Wallace)
    Out of the South Blew a Wind (Fannie Carter Woods)
    Resignation (Florence B. Price)
    Rise Mourner (Spiritual)
    Save Me Lord, Save Me (Spiritual)
    Some o' These Days (Spiritual)
    Song to the Dark Virgin (Langston Hughes)
    Sunset (Odessa P. Elder)
    Sympathy (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
    The Glory of the Day Was in Her Face (James Weldon Johnson)
    The Moon Bridge (Mary Rolofson Gamble)
    The Poet and His Song (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
    The Washerwoman (Otto Leland Bohanan)
    To My Little Son (Julia Johnson Davis)
    Travel's End (Mary Folwell Hoisington)
    Trouble Done Come My Way (Florence B. Price)
    Two Traditional Negro Spirituals: I am Bound for the Kingdom; I'm Workin' on My Buildin'
    We Have Tomorrow (Langston Hughes)
    Weary Traveler (Spiritual)
    What's the Use (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
    Words for a Spiritual ("Capricorn")
    You Won't Find a Man Like Jesus (Spiritual)

    Voice Type: Medium/High

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Florence Price: Five Art Songs (Dr. Rae Linda Brown, ed.)

    Composer(s): Florence Price

    Song(s): 1. Hold Fast to Dreams (Langston Hughes)
    Key D Major - d minor
    2. Travel's End (Mary Folwell Hoisington)
    Key B Major (Low voice)
    3. To My Little Son (Julia Johnson Davis)
    Key B Major (Medium voice)
    4. Fantasy in Purple (Langston Hughes)
    Key f minor (Medium voice)
    5. Sympathy (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
    Key E-flat (Medium-High voice)
    plus a transposed higher key, G Major (High voice)

    Voice Type: Medium/High

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Florence Price: Two Songs (Ruth C. Friedberg, ed.)

    Composer(s): Florence Price

    Song(s): "Feet o' Jesus" (text by Langston Hughes)
    "Trouble Done Come My Way"

    Voice Type: Medium

    Buy via Keiser Southern Music

    Art Songs by American Women Composers, Vol. 15: Florence Price

    Composer(s): Florence Price

    Song(s): Dreamin' Town
    What's the use?
    Go down, Moses
    My little soul's goin' to shine

    Voice Type: Medium/High

    Find at your Local Library (Out-of-print)

    Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers, Compiled by Willis C. Patterson

    Composer(s): H. Leslie Adams, David Baker, Margaret Bonds, Charles Brown, Cecil Cohen, Noel de Costa, Mark Fax, Adolphus C. Hailstork, Eugene Hancock, Thomas Kerr, Jr., Charles Lloyd, Jr., Wendell Logan, Maurice McCall, Dorothy Rudd Moore, Undine Smith Moore, Robert Owens, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Florence Price, Hale Smith, William Grant Still, Howard Swanson, George Walker, Olly Wilson, John Work, Jr.

    Song(s): For You There is No Song (H. Leslie Adams)
    Early in the Mornin' (David Baker)
    A Good Assassination Should Be Quiet (David Baker)
    Status Symbol (David Baker)
    Three Dream Portraits: Minstrel Man; Dream Variations; I, Too (Margaret Bonds)
    The Barrier (Charles Brown)
    Song Without Words (Charles Brown)
    Death of an Old Seaman (Cecil Cohen)
    Two Songs for Julie Ju (Noel da Costa)
    Cassandra's Lullaby (Mark Fax)
    Love (Mark Fax)
    A Charm at Parting (Adolphus C. Hailstork)
    I Loved You (Adolphus C. Hailstork)
    Absalom (Eugene Hancock)
    Nunc Dimittis (Eugene Hancock)
    Riding to Town (Thomas Kerr, Jr.)
    Compensation (Charles Lloyd, Jr.)
    If There Be Sorrow (Wendell Logan)
    Marrow of My Bone (Wendell Logan)
    Chanson Triste (Maurice McCall)
    Sweet Sorrow (Maurice McCall)
    Weary Blues (Dorothy Rudd Moore)
    Love Let the Wind Cry...How I Adore Thee (Undine Moore)
    Faithful One (Robert Owens)
    Genius Child (Robert Owens)
    A Child's Grace (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
    Melancholy (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
    Night (Florence Price)
    Song to the Dark Virgin (Florence Price)
    Velvet Shoes (Hale Smith)
    Grief (William Grant Still)
    A Death Song (Howard Swanson)
    I Will Lie Down in Autumn (Howard Swanson)
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers (Howard Swanson)
    Lament (George Walker)
    A Red, Red Rose (George Walker)
    Wry Fragments (Olly Wilson)
    Dancing in the Sun (John Work, Jr.)
    Soliloquy (John Work, Jr.)

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Art Songs and Spirituals by African-American Women Composers (Vivian Taylor, ed.)

    Composer(s): Margaret Bonds, Betty Jackson King, Dorothy Rudd Moore, Undine Smith Moore, Julia Perry, Zenobia Powell Perry, Florence Price

    Song(s): Calvary (Spiritual) (1954) - Betty Jackson King
    Come Down Angels (Spiritual) (1978) - Undine Smith Moore
    Dry Bones (Spiritual) (1946) - Margaret Bonds
    Free At Last (Spiritual) (1951) - Julia Perry
    He's Got the Whole World In His Hand (Spiritual) (1963) - Margaret Bonds
    I Am in Doubt (1975) - Undine Smith Moore
    I'm a Poor Li'l Orphan in This Worl' (Spiritual) (1952) - Julia Perry
    In the Springtime (1976) - Betty Jackson King
    Is There Anybody Here That Loves My Jesus (Spiritual) (1981) - Undine Smith Moore
    It's Me, O Lord (Spiritual) (1988) - Betty Jackson King
    Lord, I Just Can't Keep from Cryin' (Spiritual) (1946) - Margaret Bonds
    Love Let the Wind Cry… How I Adore Thee (1977) - Undine Smith Moore
    My Dream (1935) - Florence B. Price
    My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord (Spiritual) (1937) - Florence B. Price
    Night (1946) - Florence B. Price
    Song to the Dark Virgin (1926) - Florence B. Price
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers (1942) - Margaret Bonds
    Three Dream Portraits (1959) - Margaret Bonds
    Watch and Pray (Spiritual) (1972) - Undine Smith Moore

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

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