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The Life Of Florence Beatrice Smith Price

976 words - 4 pages

Florence Beatrice Smith Price was born April 9, 1887 in Little Rock, Arkansas to James and Florence Smith. Her father was a dentist and her mother had numerous careers working as a piano teacher, school teacher, and businesswoman. She had two siblings who both knew how to play the piano. Florence as well as her siblings, received music lessons from her mother who published some of her musical works. Price gave her first piano performance at the very young age of four. However, she did not write her first published composition until the age eleven; the other com positions were published while in high school. She graduated as valedictorian at the age of 14 from Capitol High School in 1903. She ...view middle of the document...

In 1935, her and her husband separated. She became a single mother and supported her family with the creation of her musical works. The move to Chicago, Illinois, is where she flourished in her musical works. She made some progress as her songs for piano where being published.
Price wrote extended works for orchestra, chamber works, art songs, and works for violin, organ anthems, piano pieces, spiritual arrangements, four symphonies, three piano concertos, and a violin concerto. Upon moving to Chicago, she met other African Americans who were interested in classical music as well. Upon breaking her foot Price spent most of her time writing composition. She began to receive recognition for her work around 1928, when the G. Schirmer and McKinley publishing companies began to issues her work. Florence began to apply the knowledge of music to create larger pieces of work. Upon a foot injury Price found herself alone and quiet. In this spare time she wrote her first symphony (Symphony No. 1 in E minor) in early 1931; she entered it into the annual Wanamaker competition in 1932. It won the top honor winning Ms. Price a $500 reward. Also upon winning, the Symphony No. 1 in E minor was featured in a program the following year; it was the first time a major orchestra had performed a piece written by a black woman composer; European orchestras also began to perform her works.
During the remainder of the 1930s she taught piano lessons, continued to compose for the piano and the organ, and worked as an orchestrator for WGN radio and as an organist for silent films. She also wrote compositions and songs such as “Songs to the Dark Virgin and Hold Fast to Dreams”, under the name Vee Jay. Besides her compositional works, she wrote musical arrangements that were sung by Marian Anderson. One of Price’s arrangement sung by Marian Anderson included “My...

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