Wichita Symphony ‘Masterpiece’ celebrates Black History Month

Composer Florence Price
Composer Florence Price(Wichita Symphony Orchestra)
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 2:38 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita Symphony Orchestra is celebrating Black History Month with a performance of Florence Price’s First Symphony on Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. at Century II Concert Hall.

In 1933, composer Florence Price made history when her Symphony No. 1 in E minor was performed by the Chicago Symphony. Price’s piece was the winner of the Rodman Wanamaker Competition in 1932. The national recognition that accompanied the win caught the attention of conductor Frederick Stock, who then premiered the piece with the Chicago Symphony in June 1933, making it the first piece by a black woman composer to be performed by a major American orchestra. 

“We’re calling the concert A New World Masterpiece,” WSO CEO Don Reinhold, “which is exactly what Price’s piece is. Though the piece fell into obscurity after its initial premiere, it is now experiencing a well-deserved revival in the world of classical music. The Wichita Symphony is proud to be presenting this piece because of its artistry, beauty, and impact on the world of classical music. Florence Price’s First Symphony is an American masterpiece that hasn’t yet gotten its due - we aim to help change that.”

Also included on the concert are Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet: Overture-Fantasy (just in time for Valentine’s day) and a long overdue performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major by guest pianist Natasha Paremski. She was originally set to perform this piece in March 2020 on the concert Ravel & Brahms, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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