Tribute to Composer Florence Price (1887-1953)

As Black History Month USA comes to a close we pay tribute to Florence Price. The first African American female composer to have her work performed by a major orchestra. Against a backdrop of racial tensions in 1933 her first symphony was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra Unwrapped concert designed to encourage and introduce children to classical music in an interactive way played her music at the Royal Festival Hall this week and the children were taught the Juba Dance, a form of body percussion originating in West Africa and brought to the USA by the slaves who entertained themselves without any musical instruments by patting and slapping their arms, legs and stamping their feet.

Thanks to Florence Price’ Symphony No. 1 in E Minor which is inspired by the Juba Dance, her works which were largely forgotten over time have now come to the forefront once again.

The children learn the Juba Dance