ONEcomposer

ONEcomposer is a commitment to the celebration of musicians whose contributions have been historically erased. In providing a platform for the study, performance, and discussion of a single, underrepresented composer’s life and legacy for the duration of an entire academic year, ONEcomposer promotes a more complete understanding of musical histories.

For the duration of the 2020-2021 academic year, ONEcomposer will spotlight the life and works of Florence Price (1887-1953). Her legacy bridges the rural and the urban, reflecting her bifurcated experience, and unapologetically forging new relationships between classical idioms and the music of rural black culture. Syncopated rhythms, pentatonic melodies, and direct quotations of oral tradition material are woven into classical forms. In celebrating Price’s legacy, ONEcomposer hopes that we too will examine the rich spectrum of rural and urban Black music histories. We will tell her story, and reflect her goals by bringing great music and scholarship to large audiences, both traditional and non-traditional.

Price became the first Black woman to have a symphony played by a major American orchestra when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra premiered her Symphony in E minor in 1933. Price dreamed of gaining an audience with the great orchestras of the east coast, and her frustration with limitations of race and gender are documented in correspondence. Following the recent rediscovery of the original manuscripts of the Price Piano Concerto in One Movement, ONEcomposer will collaborate with the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin with ONEcomposer keynote artist Michelle Cann at the piano. This will mark the East Coast premiere and the first performance of the work since Price’s death. We will gain access to the musical minds that bring the score to life through a series of “behind the scenes” interviews, as we offer free and reduced-cost access to ONEcomposer participants and community partner organizations in the Ithaca area.

 
Florence B. Price writing on sheet music

 

Faculty Collaborators

  • Tamara Acosta, voice instructor at Cornell University, Ithaca College and Opus Ithaca School of Music
  • Stephen Spinelli, assistant director of choral programs at Cornell University