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Florence Price and the Politics of Her Existence



Florence Price and the Politics of Her Existence analyzes the components behind Price’s status as the first African-American woman composer to achieve national and international success. The key components—platform, opportunity, and time—are explored, alongside the acknowledgement that the role of each component in the life of any composer is very much shaped by the politics of their existence. Thus, in the case of Price, the analysis explores: platform, in terms of her musical output and the elevation of her work in the public sphere; opportunity, in terms of her lived experiences and the scope for access, mobility and agency these provided; and time, in relation, first, to how she invested her own time in her craft and, second, to the posthumous construction of her legacy. Florence Price and the Politics of Her Existence feeds into wider conversations about how women composers of the past are understood in the present.
Special points of interest:
The Legacy of Florence Price
Inside this issue:
Florence Price and the Politics of Her
Existence / by Samantha Ege
CD releases, publications, reviews
A Journal of Women in Music
Spring 2018
Volume 16, Issue 1
The Kapralova Society Journal
Florence Price and the Politics of Her Existence
Samantha Ege
Platform, opportunity, and time are by no
means the only elements that influence the
construction of legacies, but to interrogate
these man-made constructions is to recognize
that they determine not only the trajectories of
historical figures in real time but also the ex-
tent to which such figures are recognized in
the present day—if at all. This is evidenced by
the discrepancies in the posthumous visibility
of men and women composers. The myth that
women did not compose “back then” is per-
petuated in the contrasting treatments of leg-
acy, which fail to recognize the historically
limited platforms for women composers to
elevate their works. The myth obscures how
the opportunities for such composers may
have varied greatly for different practitioners
during their lifetime—opportunities to access
these often exclusionary, yet influential
spheres, find mobility in such spheres, and act
in resistance to stereotyped expectations of
gender and race. It both ignores and exempli-
fies the fact that a woman composer’s time,
particularly concerning that which she has
committed to the mastery of her craft, receives
an (under)valuation that is undoubtedly
shaped by the politics of her existence.
On the fifth of July 1943, the American
composer Florence Price (1887–1953) wrote
to the conductor of the Boston Symphony
Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky. She closed her
letter with the question, “will you examine
one of my scores?”
However, the question
was not as straightforward as it appeared, for
the letter began:
My Dear Dr. Koussevitzky,
To begin with I have two handicaps—
those of sex and race. I am a woman;
and I have some Negro blood in my
veins. Knowing the worst, then, would
you be good enough to hold in check the
possible inclination to regard a woman’s
composition as long on emotionalism
but short on virility and thought con-
tent;—until you shall have examined
some of my work? As to the handicap
of race, may I relieve you by saying that
I neither expect nor ask any concession
on that score. I should like to be judged
on merit alone.
Price was not simply asking Koussevitzky to
examine her scores; she was requesting that he
do so without sexist or racist judgment. She
recognized that she could not escape the
stereotypes of her gender or race, and so she
took it upon herself to foreground the politics
of her existence—describing herself as a
woman with some Negro blood in her veins—
and then to consign her handicaps to the back-
ground so that her music could take centre
stage, as should ideally have been the case.
The late Rae Linda Brown puts it succinctly:
“Price tackles the issues of gender and race
up-front by mentioning, then dismissing
In doing so, she encourages Koussev-
itzky to follow suit.
Price’s letter exemplifies the ways in which
her desire to elevate her work on a prestigious
platform, access this traditionally white male
territory, and invest greater time in cultivating
her craft was also controlled by what these
ideas meant for a woman composer of African
descent in early mid-twentieth-century Amer-
ica. Furthermore, it is not unreasonable to
conclude that the limitations imposed by
prejudicial notions about gender and race have
lingered on long after Price’s death in 1953.
As William Robin notes in a 2014 New York
Times article on the role of race in concert
music, “the Boston Symphony has yet to play
a note of her music.”
The concepts of platform, opportunity, and
time can certainly shape much wider discourse
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concerning historical women practitioners, but the discourse be-
comes even more enriched when it is applied to the complex inter-
sections that constitute a single person’s life. In the present article,
I focus on certain questions that have surfaced in my research on
Price’s compositional voice and its place and reception in contem-
poraneous efforts to create a “national” sound. Key questions in-
clude: how did Price negotiate the obstacles of gender and race in
her contributions to American music? How did she navigate her
way around the hostilities in this territory to find opportunities
within it? And how did she cultivate an aesthetic that is distinctly
and intrinsically American? The answers to all these questions are
entangled with the politics of her existence.
My research has identified four key phases in Price’s life, de-
fined by her location, activity, and community. The first includes
her early years in Arkansas (1887–1903); the second is marked by
her studies at the New England Conservatory of Music (1903–
1906); the third follows her return to the South (1907–1927); and
the fourth covers the Chicago years (1927–1953). These periods
are used to structure a deeper exploration into how the factors of
platform, opportunity and time—that are so central to the develop-
ment of any composer—materialized in the context of Price’s life
and circumstances.
Early Years in Arkansas (1887–1903)
Florence Beatrice Price, née Smith, was born in Little Rock, Ar-
kansas. Her father, Dr. James H. Smith, was a dentist, and her
mother, Florence Irene Gulliver, was an elementary school
teacher. They married in 1876 and had three children: Charles,
Gertrude, and Florence (the youngest).
Dr. Smith was born in 1843 to free parents in Camden, Dela-
ware. He studied dentistry in Philadelphia and later established his
own practice in Chicago during the 1860s. His practice, however,
did not survive the Great Chicago Fire, and this prompted him to
move to Arkansas. There, his Little Rock practice catered to an
affluent and interracial clientele that included the Governor of
Dr. Smith’s biography is not representative of most African
American lives during this time. In fact, in an era defined by the
polarity of black and white, Dr. Smith’s position within the black
elite of a cultured professional class afforded his family privileges
and prospects that would remain out of reach for much of the
black population. The Smiths belonged to a sociological minority
called the Talented Tenth, a term coined by W. E. B. Du Bois in
an eponymous essay that promoted the notion that social change
was instigated by the leadership of the few who could apply their
privilege and education to the cause of uplifting the race. In his
seminal work, Du Bois illuminated his vision for racial uplift and
the role to be played by an African American intelligentsia:
Education and work are the levers to uplift a people.
Work alone will not do it unless inspired by the
right ideals and guided by intelligence. Education
must not simply teach work—it must teach Life.
The Talented Tenth of the Negro race must be
made leaders of thought among their people.
Contextualizing Price’s upbringing in the ideology of the
Talented Tenth not only breaks down any misconception of a
monolithic African American community but also emphasizes
the interplay of intersecting identities within. Price’s class
privilege, coupled with a notable racial ambiguity, enabled
her greater potential for agency compared to poorer African
Americans trapped in post-slavery subjugation. Her lighter
skin complexion was a product of her mixed ancestry—
“French, Indian and Spanish” on her mother’s side and
“Negro, Indian and English” on her father’s side.
Her skin
tone, coupled with her extensive education and her mode of
speech, granted her the possibility of distancing herself from a
black racial identity. Yet, this was not the path she chose.
Price embraced all aspects of her heritage; and, as a com-
poser, she cultivated an aesthetic around her belief that “a
national music very beautiful and very American can come
from the melting pot just as the nation itself has done.”
Though Price’s circumstances did not offset the gender expec-
tations or racial bias of her milieu, there is no doubt that her
familial background helped foster the favourable conditions
for her to emerge as the first American woman of African
descent to achieve national and international recognition as a
Price’s musical education began at the age of three with
piano lessons from her mother. Her education extended to the
integrated Allison Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, where
she regularly heard the sacred works of Johann Sebastian
Bach, Felix Mendelssohn and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
academic growth outside of music was supported by the in-
struction of Charlotte Andrews Stephens at the segregated
Union School. Stephens was the first African American
teacher in Little Rock. Though born into slavery, she recog-
nized that her trajectory had been heavily influenced by what
she called the “peculiar privileges” of her upbringing.
Stephens’ father, though enslaved, was committed to the task
of educating fellow slaves as well as free men and women.
Stephens’ mother further provided for the family through her
laundry business, even during her enslavement. Education and
enterprise were certainly characteristic of Stephens’ upbring-
ing and the path that followed. Her teaching career spanned
seventy years; it began in 1869 when, as a fifteen-year-old,
she stepped in to cover the class of her white teacher who was
away with sickness. She retired in 1939, by which time she
had pursued higher education at Oberlin College, Ohio, taught
from elementary to high school level, served as a principal
twice, and had a school named in her honour.
Price was one of the many students to benefit from
Stephens’ passion and dedication. Another student was Wil-
liam Grant Still, a family friend of the Smiths who would go
on to be known as the Dean of African American composers
Florence Price
The Kapralova Society Journal Page 3
The Politics of Her Existence
A photograph of Florence Price by G. Nelidoff, Rosenthal Archives, Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Reprinted by permission.
Page 4
The Kapralova Society Journal
Florence Price
Century of Progress program (1933). Rosenthal Archives, Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Reprinted by permission.
and a key actor in the Harlem Renaissance. Records do not con-
firm Stephens’ specific role in the musical education of Price or
Still, but Barbara Garvey Jackson postulates that Stephens most
likely would have encouraged their musical inclinations and
Stephens was known to have catered to the need for rec-
reational outlets in Little Rock by organizing communal enter-
tainment in the form of skits, concerts and games.
Whether or
not Price and Still participated in these events is, again, uncon-
firmed, but this detail certainly lends support to Jackson’s theory.
Like Stephens, Price’s circumstances were advantaged by her
own set of peculiar privileges; and, like Stephens, Price set about
devoting her time, energy, and resources to pursuing the path for
which she seemed so destined. Stephens and Price were both six-
teen years of age when they entered the academic worlds of Ober-
lin College and the New England Conservatory of Music, respec-
tively. However, it must be recognized that Stephens was raised
in the era of slavery and committed to the uplift of her race as a
direct result of her experiences. In contrast, Price was raised in a
generation that had moved somewhat beyond its predecessor’s
experiences. Price’s relative privilege meant that there was a de-
gree of freedom in her decision to immerse herself in African
American culture. Indeed, Price’s trajectory can be seen as a
variation on the themes of education and enterprise that were so
prevalent in Stephens’ life and so redolent of the Talented-Tenth
ideology, long before the term even came into existence. Thus,
despite the parallels in their lives, there was a great disparity in
the circumstances that encased the politics of their being.
The New England Conservatory of Music (1903–1906)
Price’s pursuit of musical study at the New England Conserva-
tory was by and large determined by which institutions would
accept ethnic minority candidates; but even so, Price was encour-
aged to exercise caution in her own application. In an act of pres-
ervation, Price’s mother presented Pueblo, Mexico, as Price’s
The New England Conservatory did include African
American students in its admissions policy, but such a policy
could not overturn centuries of social conditioning and ensure
Price’s protection from her contemporaries’ derivative attitudes.
Price’s mother capitalized on her daughter’s racial ambiguity and,
in doing so, etched a less stigmatized identity for her. Still, Price
never forgot her heritage; and, as a composer, she would return to
the New World Africanisms of her ancestors.
Price graduated with the highest honours, earning a double
major in piano pedagogy and organ performance. She studied
organ under the instruction of Henry M. Dunham, and she had
clearly proven herself as an accomplished organist because on
June 14, 1906, Price closed a concert featuring members of the
graduating class with the first movement of her professor’s So-
nata in G minor for Organ.
Her studies in instrumental perform-
ance and pedagogy were accompanied by courses in composition
and counterpoint with George Whitefield Chadwick, (director of
the New England Conservatory), Frederick Converse, and Benja-
min Cutter. Under Chadwick, Price began to explore black folk
idioms as source material for serious composition.
This concept
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The Politics of Her Existence
had, however, been brought to mainstream attention a decade
before Price enrolled at the conservatory.
In 1893, Antonín Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony had
shaken the American musical landscape, as had his contro-
versial yet highly progressive statements about the establish-
ment of an American school of music. In an article called
“The Real Value of Negro Melodies,” Dvořák is quoted as
saying, “I am now satisfied that the future of this country
must be founded upon what are called the negro melo-
dies. . . . These beautiful and varied themes are the product of
American soil. They are American.”
Dvořák’s assertions
were not widely embraced, but they certainly permeated the
consciousness of many American composers.
However, the real roots of Price’s compositional identity
can be found in a long history of diasporic African compos-
ers who integrated vernacular styles with classical models.
Hildred Roach traces this history back to “the earliest days of
She notes that “while some composers were
treated as curiosities, others were recognized ever so slightly,
thereby causing wide gaps in the documentaries of many.”
Indeed, the lack of documentation of early African American
composers certainly problematizes any attempt to construct
an ancestral history and to establish a cohesive and represen-
tative canon. Instead, what emerges are intermittent dots in
time; but it could be argued that these dots portray, in the
words of Roach, composers whose “musical creativity and
gifts were so monumental that history could not entirely ig-
nore their lucent manifestations or loud exclamations.”
Harry T. Burleigh (1866–1949) was one such composer.
Burleigh was part of the first generation of post-slavery com-
posers, who imbued their compositional voices with ancestral
folk references and whose aesthetic could thus be viewed as
Burleigh was best known for his contributions
to art song and especially his arrangements of Negro spiritu-
als for solo voice. He wrote of his approach: “My desire is to
preserve them in harmonies that belong to modern methods
of tonal progression without robbing the melodies of their
racial flavor.”
Burleigh’s influence was far-reaching; his
approach was embraced by subsequent generations of Afri-
can American composers, including Price, but he also in-
spired a tradition of African American concert singers to
include arrangements of Negro spirituals in their repertoire,
from former student Abbie Mitchell to Roland Hayes, from
Marian Anderson to Jessye Norman.
Burleigh studied with Dvořák at the National Conservatory
of Music in New York and sang spirituals for the Bohemian
composer, who encouraged his hybrid style.
Yet Burleigh,
unlike Dvořák, represented a more emic relationship with
vernacular traditions. For Dvořák, and Chadwick, the sound-
world of the black slave was a foreign one that could be vis-
ited through musical excursions, but their perspective was
Florence Price
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more akin to that of the tourist than the local. For Burleigh, how-
ever, this was a sound-world that had been passed down by his
grandfather who would sing to him songs from the plantation,
songs whose themes of uplift and freedom still had contemporary
relevance. With Price emerging as part of the next generation of
African American composers, she was further removed from Bur-
leigh’s experiences with black folk culture, and her privileged
position augmented her distance from them. Still, the themes of
the plantation songs reverberated even in Price’s lifetime, which
heightens the meaning of her decision to shape her compositional
voice around European and African heritages; it was as though
she were recognizing, even realizing, the politics of her existence
in the nature of her aesthetic. Therefore, while Price may have
enrolled in the New England Conservatory under the guise of
Mexican nationality, as a composer thereafter, she aligned herself
with the legacy of Burleigh and his predecessors.
Return to the South (1907–1927)
Price returned to Arkansas in 1906 and started her teaching ca-
reer. As previously mentioned, education was the central tenet of
the Talented-Tenth ideology; and, therefore, it is not surprising
that teachers were often regarded as the pillars of their communi-
Teachers historically came from middle-class backgrounds,
and so the fact that Price turned to music education upon her re-
turn to the South perhaps reflected her awareness of the maxi-
mum opportunity available to a well-educated, middle-class, Af-
rican American woman in the era of Jim Crow.
Price first taught at the Arkadelphia-Cotton Plant Academy in
Cotton Plant, Arkansas. She then joined the music faculty at
Shorter College in North Little Rock, before assuming the role of
Head of the Music Department at Clark University in Atlanta,
Georgia. As dictated by segregation, all of these institutions ca-
tered to a black demographic.
Price built a solid profile as an educator. She also provided
private instruction in organ, piano and violin, and often composed
her own material to suit her students’ needs. Still, Price’s qualifi-
cations and experience could easily be nullified by the colour of
her skin. When she applied for membership of the Arkansas State
Music Teachers Association, she was rejected because of her
In a spirit of enterprise, however, Price established her own
platform and founded the Little Rock Club of Musicians; this
enabled her to program and perform her own compositions.
Price remained in the South until the late 1920s, but her coun-
terpart and childhood friend William Grant Still had moved to
Harlem in 1919. His move coincided with a cultural movement
driven by African American thinkers and visionaries that spanned
the 1920s and ‘30s. The Harlem Renaissance was “a moment of
hope and confidence, a proclamation of independence, and the
celebration of a new spirit exemplified in the New Negro.”
goal to restore the dignity and assert the humanity of African
Americans, both past and present, has been a consistent thread
in the tapestry of this narrative. However, interpreting the first
half of the twentieth century through the motivically dominant
notions of rebirth and revitalization allowed new generations
to continue this thread and weave it into their own definitions
of modernity. Thus, if the turn of the century was epitomized
in the Talented-Tenth ideology, the interwar years belonged
to the philosophy of the New Negro. As influential Renais-
sance figure and New Negro exponent Alain Locke wrote:
“The younger generation is vibrant with a new psychology;
the new spirit is awake in the masses, and under the very eyes
of the professional observers is transforming what has been a
perennial problem into the progressive phases of contempo-
rary Negro life.”
Out of this climate emerged important platforms for artistic
and intellectual expression. Opportunity: A Journal of Negro
Life was founded in 1923 and lived up to its name, offering a
medium to African American artists and authors who had
traditionally been met with silence by mainstream avenues.
Wealthy Harlem resident and businessman Casper Holstein
donated $1000 to Opportunity for the Holstein Prizes, to be
awarded to composers and their winning submissions.
Though Price never ventured to Harlem, news of the contest
reached her nonetheless; and in 1926, Price was awarded sec-
ond place in the Holstein competition for a piano suite entitled
In the Land O’ Cotton.
This suite evokes images of rural antebellum life by evok-
ing plantation music and dances. “At the Cotton Gin” opens
the suite with a strongly pentatonic flavour in the key of A-
flat, grounding the music in folk influences. Open-fifth
chords, provided by the tonic and dominant, reinforce the
strong beats of the duple time signature, while quartal harmo-
nies formed by the third and sixth degrees of the scale skip
between the downbeats in playful syncopation. A simple me-
lodic theme emerges after two bars, and even when the sup-
porting harmonies become more chromatic, the melody never
loses its simplicity. This piece is in ternary form and uses the
key of E major to emphasize the contrasting middle section.
Herein, a new melodic idea is accompanied by a left-hand
pattern that calls to mind the “oom-pah” rhythms that would
have been created by slaves using alternating foot taps and
The bittersweet nostalgia is amplified in the second move-
ment, entitled ‘Dreaming.’ Price marks the piece andante con
espressione. As expected, this languid movement consists of a
lyrical melody steeped in impressionist-leaning harmonies.
The broken chord pattern that persists through much of the
left-hand writing is very harp-like in its conception, and
Price’s use of whole-tone and chromatic colour reinforces the
The Politics of Her Existence
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The Kapralova Society Journal
character of this reverie. The third movement, ‘Song without
Words,’ possesses a hymn-like quality in its use of chordal ho-
mophony and organ-inspired pedal points. It is as though Price,
like Burleigh, has arranged a spiritual for piano and solo voice; but
in the absence of words, Price leaves her listener to draw meaning
from its poignant melody.
In the Land O’ Cotton closes with the lively “Dance.” This piece
in rondo form is based on the Juba dance, which evolved as a New
World manifestation of the African Djouba and the Caribbean Ma-
In Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northup describes the
patting actions of the Juba from his first-hand experience on the
cotton plantations of Louisiana. He begins by explaining how the
dancing would continue through the night and into the next day:
It does not cease with the sound of the fiddle, but in that
case they set up a music peculiar to themselves. This is
called “patting,” accompanied with one of those unmean-
ing songs, composed rather for its adaptation to a certain
tune or measure, than for the purpose of expressing any
distinct idea. The patting is performed by striking the
hands on the knees, then striking the hands together, then
striking the right shoulder with one hand, the left with the
other—all the while keeping time with the feet and sing-
Price alludes to the Juba dance with an accompaniment that largely
falls on the offbeat and a jaunty pentatonic tune that matches
Northup’s account of the light-hearted role of the melody. Few
first-hand accounts of the Juba exist, but the style survives through
derivative forms such as the cakewalk and ragtime; and the con-
nections can certainly be heard in this closing movement.
David Mannes, who judged the 1926 Holstein competition and
was an active musician, conductor and educator in New York, ob-
served: “For the second prize I would choose (No. 22), entitled ‘In
the Land O’ Cotton’ four pieces for the pianoforte, charming com-
positions, simply and effectively written, especially the Dance.”
Price also achieved second place in the 1927 Holstein competition
with a composition called Memories of Dixie Land.
Around the
same time, she had also been attending summer courses at Chicago
Musical College. There, she studied composition under Carl Busch
and Wesley LaViolette and also enrolled in LaViolette’s orchestra-
tion classes.
Like Still and the Harlem Renaissance, it seemed Price’s compo-
sitional voice would emerge most fully in the energies of a socio-
cultural movement, one that she would not find in Arkansas. Al-
though her submissions to Opportunity linked her to the activities
in Harlem, Price was to become an esteemed figure in the burgeon-
ing cultural revolution that has come to be known as the Chicago
Black Renaissance. It was not until Price moved to Chicago in
1927 that she would bring into more profound alignment a plat-
form for promoting her works, an opportunity for access,
mobility and agency, and the dividends of the time she had
spent honing her craft.
The Chicago years (1927–1953)
Price had met and married a lawyer called Thomas J. Price
while teaching in Atlanta. Their family grew upon returning
to Arkansas: together they had three children: Tommy, Flor-
ence Louise and Edith. Sadly, Tommy died in infancy, and
with racial tensions escalating in Arkansas, there was further
reason to fear for the lives of the two daughters. The murder
of a twelve-year-old local white girl had left many white
residents seeking commensurate retribution. The lynching of
an African American man called John Carter, who was sus-
pected of assaulting a white woman and her daughter, was no
doubt another catalyst in the move to Chicago.
torturous death was perhaps all the more harrowing to Flor-
ence because of its close proximity to Mr. Price’s office. And
so, in 1927, the Price family joined the Great Migration in a
mass exodus that saw huge numbers of African Americans
leave the southern states and head north and west.
Darlene Clark Hine notes that to Chicago came “both old
settlers and new migrants, energetically engaged in the chal-
lenging work of community building, economic develop-
ment, political engagement and the production of a new ex-
pressive culture giving voice and form to their New Negro,
urban/cosmopolitan identities.”
Helen Walker-Hill shows
how “upon her arrival in Chicago, Price was welcomed into a
vital and nurturing community.
Estelle C. Bonds was a pivotal figure in building a new
Chicago community for African Americans. Her home was a
cultural hub for artists and intellectuals alike. She was a
gifted musician, and her daughter, Margaret Bonds, was in-
stilled with the same passion. The young Bonds later rose to
prominence with her own works and performances and came
to represent the next wave of African American women com-
posers in Chicago. Both mother and daughter became cher-
ished friends of Price; and through these friendships, Price’s
circles grew to include composers such as Will Marion Cook,
performers such as Abbie Mitchell, and poets such as
Langston Hughes.
Her community also extended to organi-
zations such as the R. Nathaniel Dett Club, the Chicago Mu-
sic Association (CMA) and the Club of Women Organists.
Additionally, there were the networks that she would have
established during her pursuit of further musical study at the
Chicago Musical College, Chicago Teachers College, Chi-
cago University, Central YMCA College, Lewis Institute,
and the American Conservatory of Music.
Florence Price
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African American women composers thrived in this cultural cli-
mate, and they included the previously mentioned Margaret Bonds.
Bonds’ compositional output consisted of solo piano pieces, art
songs, and chamber and orchestral works. As a composer, she
filled European forms with spiritual melodies, blues harmonies,
and jazz rhythms. Irene Britton Smith, a Chicago native, also com-
posed during this time and knew both Price and the Bonds family.
She studied music theory and composition with professor Stella
Roberts at the American Conservatory, continued her studies with
Vittorio Giannini at Juilliard, and eventually became a student of
Nadia Boulanger during her time at Fontainebleau Conservatory in
Smith’s available works are small in number but reveal
neoclassicist interests. There is also an inclination to explore other
modernist trends, such as post-tonal techniques. Smith’s work
makes it evident that there were other women composers during
this time and that their activities were not isolated events, but
rather very much consistent with the active role that women in both
continental and diasporic African and European cultures have al-
ways played in music-making.
A more prominent name in the Chicago Black Renaissance (as
well as a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance) was Nora
Douglas Holt.
Holt was a composer, but her output of over two
hundred works has been lost and what remains of it is a single
piece called Negro Dance for solo piano, which was published.
The composition pays tribute to the Juba. Holt was also a music
critic for the Chicago Defender in the years leading up to the Chi-
cago Black Renaissance. Her documentation of African American
musical achievement was another example of the various and es-
sential acts of community building. Holt co-founded the National
Association of Negro Musicians (NANM); the CMA was its first
branch. The NANM takes on a greater significance when under-
stood in the context of the restrictions faced by practitioners of
African descent. The reinforcement of segregation prevented many
black composers entering certain concert halls, let alone having
their works programmed, published or promoted on the more
mainstream platforms; thus organizations such as the NANM pro-
vided a crucial service.
These profiles of Bonds, Smith, and Holt demonstrate the diver-
sity of Chicago’s artistic communities and the significance of con-
tributions by African American women during this era. Women, in
fact, occupied positions of leadership: Estella Bonds had been the
president of the Chicago Treble Clef Club, with Price acting as
director. Estella had also been the president of the CMA, as had
Holt and Neota L. McCurdy Dyett. The NANM saw three women
presidents in succession between the years of 1930 and 1938:
Lillian LeMon, Maude Roberts George, and Camille L. Nickerson.
George had also presided over the R. Nathaniel Dett Club.
Through the leadership and active involvement of numerous
women, the community built artistic platforms. These platforms
elevated the musical expression of African American women com-
posers, and therein provided significant opportunities for the
The patrons of Chicago’s artistic communities were
Americans of African and European descent. They shared the
belief that the advances of black men and women in the arts
could dismantle white supremacy; their artistic achieve-
ments, they believed, would prove their vast intellectual and
emotional capacity and validate the case for true liberation.
The Wanamaker family, guided by Rodman Wanamaker,
though strongly associated with northern philanthropy and
white patronage, centred on empowering suppressed commu-
nities, from the homeless in Philadelphia to the dwindling
Native American population. Rodman’s sympathy for Afri-
can Americans and his interest in their music spawned the
Rodman Wanamaker Music Contests. These provided Afri-
can American composers with opportunities for greater rec-
ognition and operated in partnership with the NANM.
Price entered the 1932 Rodman Wanamaker Music Con-
test. This was a national competition offering a total of
$1,000 in cash prizes and was on a much grander scale than
the Holstein competitions that she had entered a few years
earlier. Price placed first in the piano composition category
with her Sonata in E Minor and was awarded $250. She also
won the symphonic category and received $500 for her Sym-
phony No. 1 in E Minor.
Sonata in E Minor, for solo piano, consists of three move-
ments: “Andante-Allegro,” “Andante” and “Allegro.” The
sonata—and the symphony—is as much rooted in classical
music as it is inspired by vernacular idioms. This is evi-
denced by an array of influences, from the Beethovenian
thick chordal textures and dotted rhythms that open the first
movement to various melodic themes throughout that draw
on the stanzaic form and meter of plantation songs. Price’s
Symphony No. 1 in E Minor comprises four movements:
“Allegro ma non troppo,” “Largo, maestoso,“Juba Dance”
and “Finale.” Her use of an extended percussion section that
included large and small African drums, wind whistles, and
cathedral chimes showed that Price was certainly thinking
beyond a conventional compositional framework. Price al-
ludes to the sound-world of the spiritual in “Allegro ma non
troppo” by means of a resolute-sounding pentatonic theme in
E. Sacred overtones seep into the “Largo, maestoso,” recall-
ing Price’s “Song Without Words” in its solemn religious
tone. “Juba Dance” brings the musical sounds of the planta-
tion to life with imitations of fiddles, banjos and “patting”
rhythms. The “Finale,” though the most conventional of all
the movements, also employs folk idioms such as call and
response patterns and lively syncopations. Price’s Wana-
maker wins were a huge achievement, and they led to an-
other momentous opportunity.
The Politics of Her Existence
Page 9
The Kapralova Society Journal
Price’s symphony had caught the attention of the German
composer and conductor Frederick Stock, the music director of
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who had been looking for
appropriate works to perform at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.
On June 15, 1933, Stock and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
premiered Price’s symphony at the World’s Fair; and at that
moment, Price became the first African American woman com-
poser to have a symphonic work performed by a major national
orchestra. The symphony performance, underwritten by Maude
Roberts George, was a great success. In subsequent months,
Price’s compositions found their way into the World’s Fair Cen-
tury of Progress Exhibitions and also into events held by the
International Congress of Women and the National Advance-
ment of Colored People (NAACP).
Price’s successes were tangible evidence of social progress
that resonated deeply in black communities. Eileen Southern
explains how composers such as Price were essentially “race
symbols, whose successes were shared vicariously by the great
mass of black Americans that could never hope to attain similar
When black composers and musicians succeeded
in a climate that had been conditioned to suppress their achieve-
ment, a demonstrable step had been taken towards improved
race relations.
However, in the culture of Western classical music, Price was
more a representative of her race. Achieving success in a culture
that was not only racialized as white but also gendered as male
made her into a symbol for those whose identities and experi-
ences were shaped by preconceptions attached to either race or
gender—or both. The dual nature of Price’s accomplishments
was certainly not lost on the African American composer and
author Shirley Graham Du Bois who, in 1936, wrote the follow-
ing: “Spirituals to symphonies in less than fifty years! How
could they attempt it? Among her millions of citizens, America
can boast of but a few symphonists. . . . And one of these sym-
phonists is a woman! Florence B. Price.”
In 1951, Price received a call from Sir John Barbirolli, the
music director of the Manchester-based Hallé Orchestra in Eng-
land. He wanted her to compose an orchestral work based on
traditional spirituals. Price completed the score, but could not
make the performance due to persistent heart problems. Her
name and reputation had reached Europe but she, unfortunately,
would not. In 1953, she prepared for a trip to Paris, where she
was to receive an award; but her heart problems resurfaced and
on the third of June 1953, Price passed away at St. Luke’s Hos-
pital in Chicago.
Sixty-four years after her passing, it is fair to say that in the
widely accepted accounts of Western music history, Florence
Beatrice Price simply does not exist. She does not fit the linear
progression perpetuated by this history; and to complicate mat-
ters further, the politics of her being and the features of her style
warrant an altogether different kind of framework for under-
standing—one that does not “Other” or marginalize her ex-
periences and achievements. Price’s legacy lies in accounts
that are just now emerging, accounts that reflect the plurality
of human expression. A commitment towards more diversified
narratives can ensure that our present era affords women com-
posers of the past—albeit posthumously—a much-deserved
platform for their musical output and access, mobility, and
agency in spheres that once excluded them from opportunity.
Steps in this direction cannot change the circumstances experi-
enced by such women, but recognize, at the very least, that for
those who lived unapologetically and composed passionately,
now is surely their time.
This article is based on my lecture-recital “A Celebration of
Women in Music,” delivered in Singapore in December 2016.
1 Florence Beatrice Price to Serge Koussevitzky, July 5, 1943.
Koussevitzky Collection, Library of Congress, Music Division,
quoted in Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3, eds. Rae
Linda Brown and Wayne Shirley (Middleton: A-R Editions,
Inc., 2008), xxxv.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid., xxxvi.
4 William Robin, “Great Divide at the Concert Hall: Black Com-
posers Discuss the Role of Race,” New York Times, August 8,
2014, accessed April 11, 2017,
5 W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Talented Tenth”, in The Negro Prob-
lem: A Series of Articles by Representative American Negroes
of Today, Booker T. Washington (New York: J. Pott & Com-
pany, 1903), 75.
6 Florence Beatrice Smith Price Papers Addendum (MC 988a),
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Librar-
ies, Fayetteville.
7 Florence Beatrice Price to Serge Koussevitzky, July 5, 1943, in
Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3, xxxv.
8 “The Price of Admission: A Musical Biography of Florence
Beatrice Price,” narrated by Terrance McKnight, WQXR, Feb-
ruary 6, 2013, accessed December 15, 2017, http://
9 Jeannie M. Whayne and Nancy A. Williams, eds., Arkansas
Biography: A Collection of Notable Lives (Fayetteville, Arkan-
sas: University of Arkansas Press, 2000), 271.
10 Barbara Garvey Jackson, “Florence Price, Composer,” The
Black Perspective in Music 5, no. 1 (1977): 33.
11 Jessie Carney Smith, ed., Notable Black American Women:
Book II (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1996), 617.
12 Florence Beatrice Smith Price Papers (MC 988), Special Col-
lections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayette-
13 Ibid.
New recordings and publications
Page 10
The Kapralova Society Journal
About the author
Samantha Ege is a pianist and music teacher at the United World Col-
lege of Southeast Asia, Singapore. She is from England and has
taught internationally for six years. She holds a B. A. in Music from
the University of Bristol, during which time she was also an exchange
student at McGill University (Canada). She is currently conducting
her Ph.D. in Music at the University of York, where her research fo-
cuses on the aesthetic of Florence Price. In Spring 2018, Ege will be
releasing a discovery album with Wave Theory Records that spot-
lights the piano music of Florence Price, Vítězslava Kaprálová, Ethel
Bilsland, and Margaret Bonds.
Four Women. Music by Kaprálová, Bilsland, Price and Bonds.
Samantha Ege, piano. Wave Theory Records, April 2018.
Nina Simone wrote a song called “Four Women.” Each verse is about an
African American woman who is ultimately trapped in her stereotype de-
spite seeking her own self-definition. To some extent, Simone was
trapped in a similar way. She had always wanted to become a classical
pianist, but was rejected from this path on the grounds of her race. She
pursued a highly successful career in jazz, but like the four women in her
song, her path was affected by external prejudices. The album I have
recorded with Wave Theory Records progresses the conversation and re-
imagines the circumstances. I tell the musical stories of another set of
four women: Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Vítězslava Kaprálová, and
Ethel Bilsland. They were not immune to prejudice, but certainly carved
an existence beyond societal expectations. I hope that my Four Women
can be seen as a fitting tribute to Simone—the classical pianist that we
will never know. Samantha Ege
14 “The Price of Admission: A Musical Biography of Flor-
ence Beatrice Price.”
15 “The Real Value of Negro Melodies,” New York Herald
(1893): 28.
16 Hildred Roach, Black American Music: Past and Present,
2nd ed. (Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing, 1992), 109.
17 Ibid.
18 Ibid.
19 Ibid.
20 New York World (1924). Quoted in Eileen Southern, The
Music of Black Americans: A History, 3rd ed. (New York:
W. W. Norton & Company, 1997), 271.
21 Jean Snyder, Harry T. Burleigh: From the Spiritual to the
Harlem Renaissance (Champaign: University of Illinois
Press, 2016).
22 Karen A. Johnson, Abul Pitre and Kenneth L. Johnson,
eds., African American Women Educators: A Critical Ex-
amination of their Pedagogies, Educational Ideas, and
Activism from the Nineteenth to the Mid-Twentieth Century
(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 209.
23 “The Price of Admission: A Musical Biography of Flor-
ence Price.”
24 Geneviève Fabre and Michel Feith, “ ‘Temples for Tomor-
row’: Introductory Essay” in Temples for Tomorrow: Look-
ing Back at the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Geneviève Fabre
and Michel Feith (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
2001), 2.
25 Alain Locke, “The New Negro” in The New Negro, ed.
Alain Locke (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1925), 3.
26 Sondra Kathryn Wilson, ed., The Opportunity Reader:
Stories, Poetry, and Essays from the Urban League’s Op-
portunity Magazine (New York: Modern Library, 1999).
27 Eileen Southern and Josephine Wright, Images: Iconogra-
phy of Music in African American Culture, 1770s–1920s
(New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 2000), 26.
28 Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave: The Narrative of
Solomon Northup, A Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in
Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, from a
Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana
(Auburn: Derby and Miller, 1853), 219.
29 Florence Beatrice Smith Price Papers Addendum (MC
30 Jackson, “Florence Price, Composer,” 36.
31 Brian D. Greer, “John Carter (Lynching of)” in, February 2, 2016, ac-
cessed September 9, 2017, http://
32 Darlene Clark Hine, “Introduction” in The Black Chicago
Renaissance, ed. Darlene Clark Hine and John McCluskey
Jr. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012), xvi.
33 Helen Walker-Hill, “Black Women Composers in Chi-
cago: Then and Now,” Black Music Research Journal 12,
no. 1 (1992): 9.
34 Mildred Denby Green, Black Women Composers: A Gene-
sis (Boston: Twayne, 1983), 33.
35 Walker-Hill, “Black Women Composers in Chicago,” 9.
36 Jackson, “Florence Price, Composer,” 36.
37 Walker-Hill, “Black Women Composers in Chicago,” 14.
38 Lawrence Schenbeck, “Nora Douglas Holt and Her World,” in Racial
Uplift and American Music, 1887–1943 (Jackson: University of Mis-
sissippi Press, 2012), 171–208.
39 Samuel A Floyd, Jr., The Power of Black Music: Interpreting its His-
tory from Africa to the United States (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1995), 106.
40 Walker-Hill, “Black Women Composers in Chicago,” 9.
41 Eileen Southern, The Music of Black Americans: A History, 408–409.
42 Shirley Graham, “Spirituals to Symphonies,” Etude (1936): 691,
quoted in Mildred Denby Green, Black Women Composers: A Genesis
(Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1983), 15.
Page 11
The Kapralova Society Journal
První svazek souborné korespondence Vítězslavy Kaprálové (Dopisy domů)
v edici Karly Hartl se dočkal vřelého přijetí a další dva si udržely stejně vysoký
standard objevností, pečlivostí zpracování i krásným stylovým designem
(graficky upravil Lukáš Hyťha). Český čtenář nemůže vzít kterýkoli z těchto tří
svazků do rukou jinak než s pocitem piety a úcty k životu a dílu této jedineč
skladatelské osobnosti. Kompetentní edice, která snese přísná hlediska práce
s dokumenty, přichází ve svou dobu. Od konce druhé světové války se pohledy
na Kaprálovou, její životní příběh a její tvorbu, postupně proměňovaly, přičemž
její korespondence v nich hrála důležitou roli ovšem převážně v útržkové po-
době, nejednou v nepřesných citacích a skoro vždy ve věcném výkladu až příliš
uzpůsobeném optice toho kterého autora. První menší studie na téma Kaprálové
měly převážně ráz vzpomínek a osobních úvah jejích současníků. Čestnou
výjimku z takového ladění mají dvě muzikologicky pojaté studie, Otakara
Šourka (Orchestrální a komorní hudba Kaprálové) a Ludvíka Kundery (Klavírní
a vokální dílo Kaprálové), otištěné v pietním sborníku, uspořádaném po skončení
války Přemyslem Pražákem. Podat „co nejpřesvědčivější obraz umělecké osob-
nosti“ se pokusil v padesátých letech monografií Vítězslava Kaprálová Jiří
a velká exploze dalšího zájmu se odehrála později, podnícena literární
činností skladatelčina manžela, spisovatele Jiřího Muchy.
Umělecké uchopení cizího, reálného života přináší vždy subjektivní defor-
maci v pohledu na něj a na jeho společenské ukotvení, jak jsme toho svědky u
každého biografického ohlasu – připomeňme například pro muzikologa jen
velice málo přesvědčivou filmovou vizi Formanova Mozarta, originálního Bee-
thovena Agnieszky Holland nebo třeba geniální románovou metaforu Arnolda
Schönberga u Thomase Manna (Doktor Faustus). Muzikologie se však snaží od
subjektivního domýšlení tvůrčí osobnosti odhlédnout a pokročit v analýze dále,
aby na základě spolehlivých faktů dosáhla soudů, které jsou obecně platné či
alespoň obstojí ve věcné kritice. Takový velký první krok spolehlivosti
v pohledu na život a dílo Kaprálové učinila právěcílevědomá práce Karly
Hartl, která se stala mezinárodním garantem odkazu významné české
skladatelky. Po studiích na Karlově univerzitě a na University of Toronto žije
v Kanadě, kde roku 1998 založila Kapralova Society. Životní zájem o tuto
skladatelku ozdobila impozantní činností v jejím jméně (mimo jiné vydáním
takřka veškerého životního díla Kaprálové tiskem a na hudebních nosičích).
Vydané tři svazky korespondence přenášejí nyní tuto aktivitu do skladatelčiny
vlasti a jsou velkou splátkou na dluh, který vůči Vítězslavě Kaprálové máme.
Každý z nich umožňuje orientaci po věcně spřízněném výseku profilu osob-
nosti a jejího (bohužel nepříliš rozměrného) životního díla. Z vazby na rodiče je
na dopisech spolehlivě vidět, že matka tu byla přístavem citu a domova, kdežto
skladateli a hudebnímu pedagogu Václavu Kaprálovi přiznávala jeho milovaná
dcera trvale navíc i jeho odbornou kvalifikaci. Její krátká, ale dramatická cesta
životem, její hledání orientace, které ji vedlo z Brna nejprve do Prahy a potom
do Paříže, je utajena v dopisech prvního svazku Dopisy domů. Jak do života
mladé, od rodičů osamocené dívky vstupují muži, je dokumentárně ukázáno
v Dopisech láskám (druhý svazek korespondence), Rudolfu Kopcovi a Jiřímu
Muchovi, k nimž by ovšem zasloužil být přibrán i Bohuslav Martinů, kdyby se
písemná komunikace Kaprálové s ním dochovala. Pozoruhodným reflektorem
také na politické postoje skladatelky jsou partie, které si vynutila historie roku
1938 a dalších. Před čtenářem dozrává mladistvá pisatelka v osobnost samo-
statně uvažující a plně souznějící s progresivními proudy své doby. Jiný vhled do
intimity života skladatelky poskytuje třetí svazek, odkrývající například málo
známý fenomén mecenášství v osobě osvíceného podnikatele. Pro badatele,
který vytvoří analytickou monografii na téma Vítězslava Kaprálová, opřenou o
spolehlivá pramenná východiska, jsou tyto knihy neocenitelnou základnou. Ne-
třeba poznamenávat, že k tomuto úkolu je dnes asi nejlépe připravena právě
editorka této korespondence, jak to dokládají její kompetentní komentáře a
poznámkový aparát.
Jaroslav Mihule
The ‘Women Compose’ Music Festival
March 7-11, 2018
Basel, Switzerland
Chamber and symphonic music by Isabel Mun-
dry, Sofia Gubaidulina, Barbara Strozzi, Antonia
Padoani Bembo, Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de
la Guerre, Susan Doll, Louise Farrenc, Clara
Schumann, Johanna Senfter, Esther Flückiger,
Fanny Hensel, Mel Bonis, Emma Lou Diemer,
Vítězslava Kaprálová, Alma Mahler, Isabelle
Aboulker, Caroline Charrière, Agnes Tyrrell,
Alma Deutscher, Heidi Baader-Nobs, Amy
Beach, May Aufderheide, Julia Lee Niebergall,
Sadie Koninsky, Irene Giblin, Adeline
Shepherd, Nathalie Laesser Zweifel, Carla
Bley, and Billy Holiday.
Chamber music performed by David Blunden,
(organ), Jiri Nemecek (violin), Ludovic van
Hellemont (piano), Nicoleta Paraschivescu
(organ), Aria Quartet, Maya Boog (soprano),
Simon Bucher (piano), Els Biesemans (piano),
Kirsten Johnson (piano), Marcus Schwarz
(piano), Esther Flückiger (piano), Nathalie
Laesser Zweifel (piano).
Symphonic music performed by the L’anima
giusta Orchestra (leader Jiri Nemecek), con-
ducted by Jessica Horsley.
Festival highlights:
Symphony concert on Saturday, March 10 at Theo-
dorskirche, Basel: World premiere of Overture to the
oratorio Die Könige in Israel by Agnes Tyrrell (1846–
1883) and Amy Beach’s Gaelic Symphony.
Chamber concert on Saturday, March 10 at Acker-
mannshof, Basel: String Quartet, op. 8 by Vítězslava
Kaprálová (1915–1940).
For a detailed festival schedule, visit
Vítězslava Kaprálová: Dopisy domů, Dopisy láskám, Dopisy přátelům. Ed.
Karla Hartl. Toronto: The Kapralova Society 2015, 2016, 2017.
The Kapralova Society Journal
Editors: Karla Hartl and Eugene Gates
Mailing address:
34 Beacham Crescent
Scarborough, Ontario
M1T 1N1 Canada
© 2018 The Kapralova Society, All Rights Reserved.
ISSN 1715 4146
... 11 Kanneh-Mason became the first cellist to enter the UK Official Album Chart Top 10 with his second album Elgar, released in January 2020. 12 For articles on Price see Ege (2018) and Shadle (2019). plainsightSOUND is a music research project, founded by repertoire diversification are not as advanced as they should be. ...
Full-text available
This article examines the casting of Lucian Msamati as Antonio Salieri in the 2016 production of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 play Amadeus by the National Theatre in London. This was the first time an actor of colour had played the role of Salieri in a professional production of Shaffer’s drama. How did the casting affect interpretation of the play? And what was its cultural significance in the context of current debates about demographic representation in classical music and efforts to diversify the art form and its practitioners? In order to answer these questions this article examines statements made by the production team, theories of casting, and documented responses to Msamati in this role, including professional reviews and comments made online. The article reveals a complicated picture with regard to the efficacy of this casting choice, highlighting limitations and missed opportunities for deeper engagement with the history and politics of race in classical music whilst acknowledging the positive aspects of the casting and its potential for beneficial social impact. In doing so, this article demonstrates the importance of thinking across different types of representation in both cultural production and analysis: specifically, demographic representation in classical music (i.e., whom it represents and who is missing or under-represented in its practices) and the artistic representation of classical music, specifically, in this case, in theatre.
Säveltäjät Miina Härma ja Vera Vinogradova-Bieck toimivat laaja-alaisesti ja monipuolisesti musiikin kentällä sotienvälisessä Virossa. Heidän teostensa julkiseen vastaanottoon kuitenkin vaikuttivat sukupuoleen, luokkaan ja kulttuuritaustaan liittyvät ennakkoluulot. Tällainen intersektionaalinen näkökulma tulisi ylipäätään huomioida musiikin historiankirjoituksessa entistäkin painokkaammin.
This article examines the music criticism of Nora Douglas Holt, an African American woman who wrote a classical music column for the Chicago Defender (1917–1923) and published a monthly magazine, Music and Poetry (1921–1922). I make two claims regarding the force and impact of Holt's ideas. First, by writing about classical music in the black press, Holt advanced a model of embodied listening that rejected racist attempts to keep African Americans out of the concert hall and embraced a communal approach to knowledge production. Second, Holt was a black feminist intellectual who refuted dominant notions of classical music's putative race- and gender-transcending universalism; instead, she acknowledged the generative possibilities of racial difference in general and blackness in particular. I analyze Holt's intellectual commitments by situating her ideas within the context of early twentieth-century black feminist thought; analyzing the principal themes of her writing in the Chicago Defender and Music and Poetry ; and assessing her engagement with a single musical work, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, op. 36. Ultimately, Holt's criticism offers new insight into how race, gender, and musical activity intersected in the Jim Crow era and invites a more nuanced and capacious understanding of black women's manifold contributions to US musical culture.
After living as a free man for the first thirty-three years of his life, Solomon Northup was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery, leaving behind a wife and three children in New York. Sold to a Louisiana plantation owner who was also a Baptist preacher, Northup proceeded to serve several masters, some who were brutally cruel and others whose humanity he praised. After years of bondage, he met an outspoken abolitionist from Canada who notified Northup's family of his whereabouts, and he was subsequently rescued by an official agent of the state of New York. Twelve Years a Slave is his account of this unusual series of events. Northup describes life on cotton and sugar cane plantations in meticulous detail. One slave narrative scholar calls his narrative “one of the most detailed and realistic portraits of slave life.” Northup also leavens his account with wry humor and cultural commentary, making many parts of the narrative read more like travel writing than abolitionist literature. This book presents the remarkable story of a free man thrown into a hostile and foreign world, who survived by his courage and cunning.
Beginning in the 1930s, Black Chicago experienced a cultural renaissance that lasted into the 1950s and rivaled the cultural outpouring in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. The contributors to this volume analyze this prolific period of African American creativity in music, performance art, social science scholarship, and visual and literary artistic expression. Unlike Harlem, Chicago was an urban industrial center that gave a unique working class and internationalist perspective to the cultural work being done in Chicago. This collection's various essays discuss the forces that distinguished the Black Chicago Renaissance from the Harlem Renaissance and placed the development of black culture in a national and international context. Among the topics discussed in this volume are Chicago writers Gwendolyn Brooks and Richard Wright, The Chicago Defender and Tivoli Theater, African American music and visual arts, and the American Negro Exposition of 1940. © 2012 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. All rights reserved.
This book offers a new way of listening to the music of black America, and of appreciating its profound contribution to all American music. Striving to break down the barriers that remain between high art and low art, it illuminates the centuries-old linkage between the music, myths, and rituals of Africa and the continuing evolution and enduring vitality of African American music. Inspired by the pioneering work of Sterling Stuckey and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the author advocates a new critical approach grounded in the forms and traditions of the music itself.
Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3
  • Florence In
  • Price
in Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3, eds. Rae Linda Brown and Wayne Shirley (Middleton: A-R Editions, Inc., 2008), xxxv. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid., xxxvi.
Great Divide at the Concert Hall: Black Composers Discuss the Role of Race
  • William Robin
William Robin, "Great Divide at the Concert Hall: Black Composers Discuss the Role of Race," New York Times, August 8, 2014, accessed April 11, 2017,