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.

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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New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, over 300 of her compositions, mostly songs and piano pieces, still remain unpublished.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

Florence Price

(Florence Price)

2008

Songs of America: Oral Moses

(Aaron Copland, Florence Price, 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, 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

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 (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) - Zenobia Powell 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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