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The International Florence Price Festival Will Celebrate Composer Florence Price

The International Florence Price Festival Will Celebrate Composer Florence Price

The International Florence Price Festival is partnering with the University of Maryland School of Music (SOM) to bring together performers, scholars and advocates from around the world to celebrate the life and legacy of the late African American composer Florence Price.

The inaugural Price Fest will be held August 20-23, 2020, at the University of Maryland and in the Washington, D.C. region. The festival will feature lectures and panels on the significance of Price and her contemporaries, as well as recitals of her music.

It is the first annual classical music festival in the United States named after a woman of color.

"Classical music festivals named after a composer are almost always named after European men like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven," said festival president and tenor Marquese Carter. "It is significant to be able to offer a festival named after an American woman of color."

Born in Arkansas in 1887, Price was the first African American woman composer to have a composition performed by a major American orchestra when the Chicago Symphony performed her Symphony No. 1 in 1933 at the Chicago World's Fair.

While scholarship and performances surrounding her work continued after her death in 1953, an expansion of popular interest began in 2009, when a large number of her manuscripts previously believed to be lost were discovered in a cabin in St. Anne, Illinois. Interest has continued to accelerate in recent years due to the release of published editions and premiere recordings of her fourth symphony and two violin concertos.

The International Florence Price Festival has assembled a number of leading Price performers, scholars and advocates on its board of directors and advisory committee, including Marquese Carter, Douglas Shadle, A. Kori Hill, Patrick Daily, Er-Gene Kahng, John Jeter, Samantha Ege and Jordan Randall Smith. The forthcoming festival line-up will include a diverse range of performers and composers.

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