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The official publication date was June 22, 2020  through University of Illinois Press .

The Heart of a Woman

The Life and Music of Florence B. Price

Edited and with a Foreword by Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr.
Afterword by Carlene J. Brown

The Heart of a Woman offers the first-ever biography of Florence B. Price, a composer whose career spanned both the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, and the first African American woman to gain national recognition for her works.

Price's twenty-five years in Chicago formed the core of a working life that saw her create three hundred works in diverse genres, including symphonies and orchestral suites, art songs, vocal and choral music, and arrangements of spirituals. Through interviews and a wealth of material from public and private archives, Rae Linda Brown illuminates Price's major works while exploring the considerable depth of her achievement. Brown also traces the life of the extremely private individual from her childhood in Little Rock through her time at the New England Conservatory, her extensive teaching, and her struggles with racism, poverty, and professional jealousies. In addition, Brown provides musicians and scholars with dozens of musical examples.

“Rae Linda Brown’s work extends beyond the conventional biography as it offers an analytical narrative that interrogates Price’s negotiation of the politics of race and gender, her role in advancing the black symphonic aesthetic, and her dedication to social change and racial equality on and off of the concert stage.”—Tammy L. Kernodle, author of Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams

"The Heart of a Woman is a book that educates in the best way: by bringing to life in bold strokes Price, her contemporaries, and her times. As such, it stands as a fitting capstone to Brown’s decades-long devotion to her subject and, more broadly, gives voice to the rich complexity of the African-American cultural experience." -The Arts Fuse



Publication of this book was supported by grants from the H. Earle Johnson Fund of the Society for American Music, the Henry and Edna Binkele Classical Music Fund, and the Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy (

All rights: University of Illinois

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