Born in Little Rock to a black dentist and a Caucasian teacher, Florence Price garnered many accolades and achieved many firsts as an American composer during her life. She is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers in American history, she was the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and she was the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra when the Chicago Symphony premiered her Symphony No. 1 in 1933. Her works were always well received by critics and the public alike.
Price’s life’s work consists of more than 300 works including four symphonies, four concertos, chamber music, music for various solo instruments, choral works, and art songs. Most of her works, unfortunately, went missing for decades, and this undoubtedly contributed to the dearth of performances of Price’s works until recently. Fortunately, in 2009 a treasure trove of her lost works and papers were found in Illinois in Price’s abandoned summer home. This sparked an exciting renewed interest in Price and her works and is bringing well-deserved attention to them from new audiences around the world.
In honor of black history month, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony, led by Grammy award-winning conductor, Michael Repper will perform Price’s Symphony No. 1. This symphony, commonly for Price’s works, draws from the musical traditions (such as gospel and jazz) of Black communities in America and from western European traditions that Price would have learned from her studies at the New England Conservatory of Music.
This piece consists of four movements with the opening movement featuring melodies and rhythms from Afro-American folk music and showing inspiration from Anton Dvorák’s New World Symphony. Price features a hymn tune she composed in the second (slow) movement, and the final two movements are fast and draw from the African juba dance. The work is scored for two flutes, two piccolos, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, and strings.
This piece is fiendishly difficult, which makes it thrillingly energetic. It is enjoying a rightful renaissance and being recognized for its worth. In 2022 the Philadelphia Orchestra’s recording of this symphony received a Grammy award in the Best Orchestral Performance category.
…CONCERT DETAILS FOLLOW…
WHEN and WHERE: This concert will be performed at three venues on three days on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Thursday, March 9, 2023 – 7:30 PM – Easton Church of God, 1009 North Washington Street, Easton, MD
Friday, March 10, 7:30 PM – Community Church, 11227 Racetrack Road, Ocean Pines, MD
Saturday, March 11, 3:00 PM – Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Individual tickets for this concert are $50 per person at each venue. The Mid-Atlantic Symphony offers a group discount for the purchase of 10 or more tickets to a single concert.
The Orchestra also makes a limited number of free tickets available for students 18 years and under; tickets for accompanying parents are $10 each. Reservations are required for the free tickets and may be made by calling 888-846-8600.
Podcasts for the season preview, for each concert, and for special MSO events are available on the MSO Web site at midatlanticsymphony.org/podcast. Podcasts are posted on the site approximately 7 to 10 days before a concert or event.
For additional information about the 2022-2023 season, or to order tickets, please visit www.midatlanticsymphony.org. Tickets may be ordered by telephone at 888-846-8600.
ABOUT THE MID-ATLANTIC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is the only professional symphony orchestra serving southern Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore with a full season of programs. The MSO is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council; the Talbot County Arts Council; the Worcester County Arts Council; the Sussex County, DE Council; and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Inc.
A complete schedule of the 2022-2023 season’s Masterworks and Ensembles programs, venues, times, and other information is available at www.midatlanticsymphony.org.