Recording Project of Arkansas Native Composer's Works
Florence Beatrice Price (1887 ̶ 1953), a native of Little Rock and the first African American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, is an inspiring and unparalleled figure in Western symphonic music. Her works are at the center of an exciting new recording project by UAMusic's professor of violin, Er-Gene Kahng. The project features Price's only two violin concertos, never before recorded, and performed by Kahng with the Janáček Philharmonic in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Passionately involved with this project, Kahng has been described as "sporting a sweet warm tone" and "a caressing sense of phrase." Kahng has been noted as she "translates the music into a meaningful musical discourse that few virtuosi accomplish" that extends perfectly into Price's violin concertos to "display technical virtuosity and genteel lyricism." Florence Price is a mostly unknown composer, even in Arkansas, and Kahng believes this project transcends just a recording:
"The example of a world-class accomplishment by an African-American woman will be of great benefit in inspiring younger 'outsider' musical talent to achieve and to become the next generation of musicians and composers, despite barriers to success."
Florence Price has overcome several barriers to her success on her long journey as a composer and Kahng trusts that "presenting these newly recorded concertos serves to highlight the cultural life of Arkansas, past and present, and the unique gift of hearing a true American voice in contemporary classical music," she said.
Along the lines of connecting Price's rare music with a contemporary vision and heritage to Arkansas, the recording project will also include a short modern composition for chamber orchestra and solo violin titled "Before It Was Golden" (2016) written by Arkansan composer, Ryan Cockerham.
The project is in the final stages of fundraising and you can be a part of this important work. As stated on the project's Kickstarter fund page, "this money will go directly to paying for the total expenses of the project, which are nearly $45,000 ... with a goal of $5,000, and the ACF (American Composers Forum) has agreed to act as my fiscal sponsor."
You can help Er-Gene Kahng and the Florence Price legacy directly fund this project by visiting the Florence Price Project's Kickstarter; or for more information on Florence Price please visit Er-Gene Kahng's website.
Justin R. Hunter, administrative specialist III
Department of Music
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