April 7 | Florence Price’s “Breezes,” “Clouds,” and “Meditation,” performed by Kaden Larson
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About the composer and piece
In honor of Florence Price’s birthday week, Kaden is performing three of her character pieces for piano!
Florence Price was born on April 9th, 1887 in Little Rock, Arkansas. She attended the New England Conservatory, where she studied composition with George Whitefield Chadwick and earned degrees in organ and piano. She returned to Arkansas to teach, but the violence of the Jim Crow South led her and her family to move to Chicago, part of the mass movement of African Americans to northern industrial cities known as the Great Migration. In Chicago, Price saw her greatest success as a composer. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 1933 premier of her Symphony No. 1 in E Minor made her the first African American woman to have a symphony performed by a major US orchestra. She died in 1953.
These piano pieces were likely written in the late 1920s and early 1930s yet were not published during Price’s lifetime. Although Price’s compositional style is largely rooted in Romanticism and Black vernacular idioms, these pieces show her mastery of impressionism and fluency at synthesizing styles. “Breezes” is a breathless, turbulent study of perpetual motion displaying Price’s brilliance and virtuosity as a pianist. “Clouds” shows Price’s mastery of pianistic texture and surprise. Fleeting textures, supple rhythms, and colorful harmonies drift by in an improvisatory manner with a stormy central section but blissful ending. Kaden closes with “Meditation” in which a reflective depth of expression shines through a clear melody and accompaniment texture.
The first Florence Price biography by musicologist Rae Linda Brown was just published last year. For upcoming Price events, look no further than PriceFest 2021, the second annual festival devoted to Florence Price, founded by vocalist and IU alum Marquese Carter.
About this week’s performer
A Utah native, pianist Kaden Larson is a doctoral student of Norman Krieger at the Jacobs School of Music. He is a passionate teacher, performer, and collaborative artist. Visit kadenlarsonpiano.com for bookings, concert schedule, and more.