Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra’s critically acclaimed Deutsche Grammophon recording of Florence Price’s Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 won Best Orchestral Performance at the 2022 Grammy Awards. The ceremony for the 64th Grammy Awards was held yesterday (3 April) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Grammy, which celebrates both artistic and technical achievement, is the recording industry’s most prestigious award.
Florence Price came to prominence almost ninety years ago, having surmounted systemic barriers to the progress of African-Americans and women in classical music. Much of her music then fell into neglect, however, and has only recently been rediscovered. Among those championing her work today are The Philadelphia Orchestra and its Music Director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In exploring her music, on stage and in the studio, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra aim to help restore Florence Price to her rightful place among other leading twentieth-century American composers.
First symphony by a Black woman to be performed by major US orchestra
Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor (1931–32), winner of the Rodman Wanamaker Contest in Musical Composition, was first performed in 1933 by Frederick Stock and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was the first symphonic work by an African-American woman to be performed by a major American orchestra. Her Third Symphony, originally commissioned by the Federal Music Project during the Great Depression, was first performed in 1940.
“We are so grateful to the Recording Academy for this tremendous honor”
“On behalf of everyone at The Philadelphia Orchestra, we are so grateful to the Recording Academy for this tremendous honor,” said Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “This moment is made even more special since it celebrates the incredible music of Florence Price, who once said that she had two handicaps: that of sex and race. Though we can’t erase the prejudices of the past, we can work together to build a more equitable future for classical music—one in which all voices are heard, where everyone sees themselves on our stages, and where artists like Florence do not fade into obscurity. It is our hope that Florence Price becomes a staple in the classical music canon and that recordings of her works will be Grammy contenders—and winners—for many years to come.”
“We are so proud of our artists and partners and delighted that the Recording Academy continues to recognise the outstanding quality of their work,” noted Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “Our Grammy Award winners this year reflect the Yellow Label’s commitment to excellence and diversity, from Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra’s readings of two wonderful rediscovered Florence Price symphonies to the awe-inspiring soundworld of Mahler’s mighty Eighth Symphony.”
Buy or stream Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra’s recording of Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 here.