NHSO To Celebrate Overlooked Composer Florence Price March 5

Friday • February 14, 2020

As part of its ongoing #MakeFlorenceFamous campaign, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra (NHSO) will showcase the music of Florence Price at Dvořák & Price on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 7:30pm in Woolsey Hall. Led by music director Alasdair Neale, the concert will feature Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 played by Oliver Herbert, Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor, and Rossini’s William Tell Overture.

Florence Price was the first female African American composer to have a symphonic work performed by a major symphony orchestra (Chicago Symphony, 1933). Florence and her compositions have been historically overlooked due to racial and gender inequity, depriving her and the world of the legacy she deserves. Her works are often compared to Dvořák, as they both reference African American folk music and share a Romantic aesthetic. This concert will showcase the similarities in their sounds, and will explore why a white, male, European has been praised throughout history for his take on “American” music, while Florence Price has been continually forgotten and omitted.

This concert will be part of the NHSO’s season-long effort to #MakeFlorenceFamous. Recent discoveries of her unpublished works have led to new performances of her music in the US and abroad, and the NHSO aspires to make her into a common household name.

At the age of 18, Oliver Herbert is one of the most tonally distinctive and accomplished young cellists of his time. Herbert first studied under Clive Greensmit, and recently graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Carter Brey and Peter Wiley. He has toured the U.S. and Greece with pianist Xiaohui Yang, won multiple International Cello Competition awards (2015, 2018), and has debuted with the San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, and Las Vegas Philharmonic, among others. He currently plays on a 1769 Guadagnini cello, on loan, that belonged to the great Italian cellist Antonio Janigro.

There will be a free, 30-minute “Prelude” pre-concert talk led by NHSO Harmony Fellow and Cellist/Arranger Kelsee Vandervall at Sudler Hall, beginning at 6:30pm the night of the concert. The NHSO Harmony Quartet will also play a Neighborhood Concert on Saturday, March 7 at 3pm in the Stetson Branch of the New Haven Free Public Library, which will feature music by Price, Dvořák, and William Grant Still, a talk-back session with the audience, and a post-concert reception catered by The Orchid Café.

Tickets: Adult tickets range in price from $15 – 74. College student tickets are $10 and KidTix (kids under 18) are free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Blue Star Tickets for active military personnel and their immediate families are free. For tickets or more information, call (203) 787-4282 or visit NewHavenSymphony.org.

Pre-Concert Activities:

Prelude: Free 30 minute pre-concert talk at Sudler Hall, 100 Wall Street, New Haven with NHSO Harmony Fellow Kelsee Vandervall.

Artist Showcase: A call for New Haven artists to submit physical or digital works in response to Florence’s omission from history. Works will be displayed on the night of Dvořák & Price, Thursday, March 5. To submit art, contact NHSO Development Coordinator Sha McAllister at Development@NewHavenSymphony.org by Monday, February 24.

Pre-Concert Symphony Supper: Concert-goers are invited to attend a prix-fixe dinner at the Union League Café starting at 5:30pm the night of the concert. Dinner is $45 and includes tax and tip. RSVP through NewHavenSymphony.org or call (203) 787-4282.

Dvořák and Price is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy. The Classics Series media sponsor is the New Haven Register. KidTix and Blue Star tickets are sponsored by Frontier Communications. The concert’s media sponsor is the Inner-City Newspaper.