Florence Price: Symphonies 1 & 4 – Fort Smith Symphony, John Jeter

January 21, 2019, 9:00 am

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Florence Price was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and studied at the New England Conservatory, but it was in Chicago that her composing career accelerated. The concert in 1933 at which her Symphony No. 1 in E minor was premiered was the first time a major American orchestra had performed a piece written by an African-American woman. Influenced by Dvořák and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, she drew on the wellspring of Negro spirituals and vernacular dances, full of lyricism and syncopation. The Symphony No. 4 in D minor demonstrates her tight ensemble writing, her distinct sense of orchestral color, her Ellingtonian language, and her penchant for the ‘juba’ dance.