Florence Price and the Chicago Black Renaissance
This lecture brings to life the music of the Chicago Black Renaissance with an in-depth look into the lives of the women behind it. Florence Price (1887–1953), the first African-American woman to achieve major success as a composer, leads the narrative with her 1927 Chicago arrival. Ege describes the community that awaited her and performs some of the key works that emerged from this era.
Samantha Ege is a British scholar, pianist and educator. Her PhD (University of York) centers on the African-American composer Florence Price. As a concert pianist, Ege's focus on women composers has led to performances in Singapore (supported by the British High Commission and International Women’s Day), and lecture recitals at the Chicago Symphony Center, Berklee College of Music, University of York, Monash University and the Women Composers Festival of Hartford. Ege has also championed Florence Price's repertoire alongside violinist Er-Gene Kahng with duo recitals in Singapore, Hong Kong and at the University of Arkansas.
Ms. Ege received the Eileen Southern Fellowship Award (Society for American Music) and the Newberry Library Short-Term Residential Fellowship for her work on women composers in the era of the Chicago Black Renaissance. Her research has also connected her to organizations such as the African American Network of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The Kapralova Society, in whose journal she published her article “Florence Price and the Politics of Her Existence.”
Ms. Ege released her debut album in May 2018 with Wave Theory Records, entitled Four Women: Music for solo piano by Florence Price, Vítězslava Kaprálová, Ethel Bilsland and Margaret Bonds. The album featured the world première recording of Bilsland’s The Birthday Party, which led to Ege preparing an edition of the suite, now published by Faber Music. Four Women has been described as “an impressive collection...performed with virtuosic assurance.” Ege has also been commended “for her goal to bring the music of these composers to greater public awareness.”
Currently residing in Singapore, Ms. Ege teaches music at the United World College of South East Asia. She is originally from England and shares Nigerian and Jamaican heritage.