Assistant Professor of Voice Sequina DuBose has become vice president of the board of the International Florence Price Fest, a new initiative dedicated to promoting the music of Black American composer Florence Price (1887-1953). The International Florence Price Fest was founded in 2019 and held its first festival virtually in 2020.
In 1933, Florence Price became the first African American female composer to have her music performed by a major orchestra when the Chicago Symphony played her Symphony in E minor. Her large oeuvre includes works for orchestra, chorus, solo voice, small chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with many piano pieces. In 2009, a large collection of Price’s music was discovered in the attic of a house, igniting an interest in her compositions.
DuBose first encountered Price’s music in undergraduate school, where she performed a choral arrangement. She later sang art songs by Price in graduate school.
In addition to presenting an annual festival – the next is scheduled for August 20-23 – the International Florence Price Fest is planning quarterly programming and developing the “Price Pledge,” which will provide support for arts organizations and educational institutions that commit to performing and teaching Price’s music.
“How can we not only hold arts organizations and educational institutions accountable for diverse programming, but how can we provide training so that they can confidently incorporate those works?” DuBose said. The “Price Pledge” will establish specific quantifiable markers for partner institutions and also designate teaching artists – “ambassadors” – as a resource.
Eventually, the International Florence Price Fest hopes to expand to encourage artistic programming of other Black composers and other women composers, DuBose said. “It’s a pretty young organization with very ambitious goals.”