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Ms. Goes to College
Wanna know what college is like for a feminist? We go to the source with essays by students.

- What?
- Just the Facts
- Word: Tolerance
- Women to Watch
-The Price is Right
: A classical music pioneer is rediscovered.

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A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
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-Arts of the Possible, by Adrienne Rich
- The Hero's Walk, by Anita Rau Badami
-Misogyny: The Male Malady, by David D. Gilmore
-YELL-Oh Girls!, edited by Vickie Nam
-Even Dogs Go Home To Die, by Linda St. John
-Days of Awe, by Achy Obejas
-So Vast the Prison, by Assia Djebar

Mother Millet: A book excerpt
Kate Millet
Columns: Daisy Hernandez, Patricia Smith and Gloria Steinem
Your Work
Academic Discrimination Lives On
Through much of musical history, women and African Americans have been about as welcome among the fraternity of classical composers as they have been in the average Southern country club, which makes Florence Price all the more astounding. She was the first U.S. composer to break the dual barrier of race and gender, composing about three hundred elegant classical works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus, solo voice, piano, and organ, mostly in the 1930s and 1940s. Now, The Women's Philharmonic, a plucky, 20-year-old orchestra based in San Francisco, has recorded three of Price's most beguiling orchestral works, revealing that her warm, vigorous music holds far more than merely historical significance.

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1887, Florence Beatrice Smith began her musical studies with her mother, an accomplished soprano and pianist. In 1903, she entered the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she studied with George W. Chadwick, leader of the second New England School of classical composers. After receiving degrees in organ and piano in 1906, Price returned to Little Rock to teach. She then chaired the music department at Clark (now Clark Atlanta University, a historically black college in Atlanta) before heading back to Little Rock, where she married Thomas J. Price, a lawyer, in 1912.

After a lynching in Little Rock worsened racial tensions, the Prices and their children moved to Chicago in 1927. There, Florence Price's creativity blossomed. In 1932, her Symphony No. 1 in E minor won first prize in the Wanamaker Music Composition Contest and was premiered the following year by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, making Price the first African American woman to have her work played by a major U.S. orchestra. Her works were subsequently performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, and her eloquent arrangements of spirituals were championed by the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson. Yet after Price's death in 1953, most of her compositions were lost or forgotten, and remain largely unknown and unpublished.

Why? Listening to the philharmonic's recording answers this question. Price's firmly tonal, sweepingly melodic, and lushly romantic music was utterly untouched by the spiky, atonal aesthetics of the twentieth century. Too good a student of the old-fashioned white males who taught her, Price was branded "conservative." Yet Price imbued the Western European forms and techniques she inherited with the melodies, harmonies, and dance rhythms of African American folk songs and spirituals. A case in point is the "Mississippi River Suite," all at once elegiac, majestic, martial, and graceful, folding in imaginative variations on such familiar spirituals as "Nobody Knows de Trouble I've Seen," "Go Down Moses," and "Deep River." Another highlight of the CD is Symphony No. 3 in C minor, a jaunty Gershwinesque scherzo. Played with grace, and conducted masterfully by Apo Hsu, who has served as the philharmonic's artistic director since 1997, this recording brings Price back into the public eye where she belongs.

Cori Ellison is the dramaturg at the New York City Opera

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