The Heart of a Woman offers the first-ever biography of Florence B. Price, a composer whose career spanned both the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, and the first African American woman to gain national recognition for her works.
Price's twenty-five years in Chicago formed the core of a working life that saw her create three hundred works in diverse genres, including symphonies and orchestral suites, art songs, vocal and choral music, and arrangements of spirituals. Through interviews and a wealth of material from public and private archives, Rae Linda Brown illuminates Price's major works while exploring the considerable depth of her achievement. Brown also traces the life of the extremely private individual from her childhood in Little Rock through her time at the New England Conservatory, her extensive teaching, and her struggles with racism, poverty, and professional jealousies. In addition, Brown provides musicians and scholars with dozens of musical examples.
Foreword by Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr.
Part I: Southern Roots
1. Family Ties
2. Little Rock: “The Negro Paradise”
3. The Pursuit of Education: Elementary and High School
4. The New England Conservatory of Music
5. Return to Little Rock
6. Clark University and Marriage
Part II: The “Dean” of Negro Composers of the Midwest
7. VeeJay and the Black Metropolis
8. "My Soul’s Been Anchored in de Lord"
9. Black Satin Clothes at the Fair
10. Spirituals to Symphonies: A Century of Progress
11. The Symphony in E Minor
12. O Sing a New Song
13. The Piano Concerto in One Movement
14. Performing Again
15. Professional Recognition: Reconciling Gender, Class, and Race
16. The WPA Years
17. The Chicago Renaissance
18. The Symphony No. 3
19. Final Years: The Heart of a Woman
Afterword by Carlene J. Brown
For Further Reading
"A rich contribution to Arkansas cultural history." --Arkansas Historical Quarterly
"The Heart of a Woman thus conveys the tenacity and resilience of two groundbreaking practitioners: it is the culmination of a lifetime's scholarship and the first monograph to tell Price's story in such depth and breadth. . . . A call to take Brown's work forward, to make audible the fullness of Price's compositional voice, and to render this resurgence into permanent visibility." --Journal of American Musicological Society
"The Heart of a Woman is more than a biography. It is an interdisciplinary work whose analytical explorations of race, gender, and class in American classical music is anchored by extensive musicological, archival, and oral history research on one of America's most prolific twentieth-century composers." --Journal of African American History