THE LIFE AND WORKS OF FLORENCE B. PRICE
For the duration of the 2020-2021 academic year, ONEcomposer will spotlight the life and works of Florence Price. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1887, Price graduated as valedictorian of her high school at the age of fourteen. She then attended New England Conservatory, where she received a soloist diploma in organ, and a teaching diploma in piano as the only double major to graduate in 1906. In 1910 she moved to Atlanta to serve on the faculty at Clark University, where she became the head of the music department. Following the birth of her children, she moved to Chicago, Illinois. In 1933 Price’s Symphony in E Minor was premiered by the Chicago Symphony, making her the first Black female composer to win a premiere with a major American orchestra. Despite isolated triumphs, Price never earned the posterity that she deserved, which was dictated by a culture that favored the music of white men.
- Sun, May 09Zoom Conference
- Fri, May 07Zoom Conference
Full Calendar of Events
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.
Through the support of the Central New York Humanities Corridor and Engaged Cornell, we will offer lecture-recitals, live-streamed performances, and a speaker series with leading Black artists, as we reexamine the excellence of the woman who first inspired ONEcomposer: Florence B. Price.
Meet the Educators and Activists Behind ONEcomposer's Mission
Trevor currently performs research as a PhD Candidate in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell and is involved in music as a player in Cornell's Percussion Ensemble. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree at Tufts University, he has worked in multiple roles beyond science as a counselor, entrepreneur, and educator, and is driven by a distinct passion for equal access to education and opportunity. Trevor is eager to see a community build around appreciating and spreading the work and accomplishments of Florence Price as a part of this project.
Simone Gatson is a recent graduate of Cornell University, and finds purpose in her role as a scientist, caregiver, teacher, social justice advocate, vocal musician, daughter, animal lover, and friend. She has a wide range of passions, ranging from her undergraduate thesis regarding the vocal behavior of the African forest elephant to her involvement in the anti-diet movement for body acceptance and liberation. As a music student and vocal performer for over ten years, the concerning lack of accurate, diverse, and prolific Black representation in her Western music education has motivated her to advocate for more effective inclusion of historically erased Black musicians, composers, and teachers. Simone looks forward to exploring the life and music of Florence Price, and hopes to promote awareness of Black women’s substantial and distinctive contributions to the classical arts.
Allen Porterie is a recent B.A. English and Theater graduate of Cornell University. Allen is an actor, singer, writer, director, teacher, and lover of life. As a native Texan, he makes sure to greet everyday with Southern hospitality. Allen is an actor, singer, and director who is committed to elevating the work of Black women and Black queer identifying folk, as their perspectives have been marginalized in most spaces historically. As is evident with Florence Price, Black women have been largely contributing to musical and artistic progression in the West without receiving their just due. As host of One Composer's Speaker Series, Allen enters each conversation with the intent to bring these stories to the fore.
Soprano Tamara Acosta is on the voice faculties at Cornell University, Ithaca College and Opus Ithaca School of Music. Her extensive performance career has taken her to many of the great opera and concert stages of the world, including Lyric Opera Chicago, The Santa Fe Opera, Sarasota Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis where she appeared in the world premiere of Judith Weir’s, The Vanishing Bridegroom. The New York Times has called Tamara Acosta’s soprano “ solid…her singing clarion-toned and ardent." Most recently, Ms. Acosta appeared as the soprano soloist in Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, first with the Symphony of the Mountains in Bristol, TN followed by a performance with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra at Cornell University having previously performed the same piece with Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa in Xalapa, Mexico. Tamara holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (BM) and the New England Conservatory (MM). Motivated by a need for diversity in the classical vocal repertoire and inspired by the Life and Works of composer Florence Price, she is proud to be the co-founder of ONEcomposer.
Stephen Spinelli is the assistant director of choral programs at Cornell University, where he conducts the Chorale and the Chamber Singers. As a performer, Stephen has sung with some of the country’s leading vocal ensembles. As a tenor with The Crossing, he performed on five albums, including the 2018 GRAMMY Award-winning recording of Bryars’ The Fifth Century. He has also performed with the genre-bending vocal octet Roomful of Teeth. He assisted in the production of their GRAMMY Award-winning debut album, which yielded the Pulitzer Prize-winning recording of Caroline Shaw’s Partita for Eight Voices. Stephen holds degrees from Williams College (BA, music), Temple University (MM, conducting), and Northwestern University (DMA, conducting), where he was awarded conducting department honors. His research seeks to reexamine the contributions of underrepresented composers, spanning from the German Baroque to the 20th-century development of an American musical tradition. Inspired by the legacy of Florence Price, he is a proud co-founder of ONEcomposer.
Lucy Fitz Gibbon
Noted for her “dazzling, virtuoso singing” (Boston Globe), soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon is a dynamic musician whose repertoire spans the Renaissance to the present. She believes that creating new works and recreating those lost in centuries past makes room for the multiplicity and diversity of voices integral to classical music’s future, and is committed to performing and teaching works outside of the traditional canon. As a recitalist Ms. Fitz Gibbon has appeared in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall; New York’s Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Park Avenue Armory, and Merkin Hall; and Toronto’s Koerner Hall. She has also appeared as a soloist with orchestras including the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra; and the Albany, American, Eureka, Richmond, and Tulsa Symphonies, performing works from Bach to world premieres. A graduate of Yale University, Ms. Fitz Gibbon has spent summers at the Tanglewood Music Center and Marlboro Music Festival. She is Interim Director of the Vocal Program at Cornell University, on the faculty of Bard College-Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and Managing Editor of Sparks & Wiry Cries. For more information, see www.lucyfitzgibbon.com.