Florence Beatrice Smith Price
Birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas
April 9, 1888- June 3, 1953
Florence's mother was a music teacher, so naturally, she learned how to play the piano at an early age.
She had her first recital by the age of four and had composed and published her first musical composition
before completing high school. After high school, she attended the New England Conservatory of Music
in Boston. She followed in her mother's footsteps by becoming a music teacher.
Although opportunities for young black artists were few, Florence was able to earn money by writing
commericials and publishing for her musical scores. Florence entered one competition after another and
soon won her first prize in Opportunity Magazine's Holstien Price competition for her musical
arrangement, "In the Land O' Cotton." She took first place in the Wanamaker Music Contest for her
"Symphony in E Minor" which established her as the first black to recieve recognition as a composer.
In 1933, the Chicago Symphony performed one of her works at the Chicago's World Fair. It was the first
time in history that a major orchestra performed the symphony of a black woman. Marian Anderson and
Leontyne Price were a few singers who sang her songs.