Violin Concerto No. 2 (1952)


Violin Concerto No. 2 (1952)

As a part of "From Song Came Symphony," Conductor Thomas Cunningham, violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, and the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra perform Florence Price's "Violin Concerto No. 2" (1952). 

Florence Price (1887–1953) was a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, where she lived until 1927 when she and her family relocated to Chicago. Fleeing the racial terrorism of the Jim Crow South, Price found herself in a city whose segregation policies had led Black Chicagoans to establish economic, artistic, and scholarly institutions that facilitated creative and communal growth. Already a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), Price became an active (and famous!) participant in the Chicago chapter, which hosted recitals and conferences and served as an important networking space for Black musicians. Like her contemporary and colleague Harry T. Burleigh, Price was interested in the creative potential of a classical music aesthetic built on antebellum-era Black folk and western classical music genres. Rather than a conservative or conventional venture, Price’s stylistic decisions exemplified how Black Americans were envisioning the creative potential of past artistic material in contemporary expressions of Black American life. Price’s Violin Concerto No. 2 contains four distinct sections; each section contains the same melodic material that reappears in different orchestrations, textures, and/or accompanied with new motivic material. Price’s structural and textual decisions indicate a close study of spirituals and juba dance, from her use of varied repetition, heterophonic textures, rhythmic material, and harmonic language. In less than 20 minutes, Price showed how adhering to standard composing rules, be it for concertos or spirituals, provided innovative ways to engage with these art forms, crafting new ways of hearing the past and understanding its artistic purpose in the present. Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins brings her unparalleled virtuosity and commitment to social justice to this performance. 

The concert took place on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 at 7:30pm in the Langston Hughes Auditorium of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 

Performance Venue: 

Langston Hughes Auditorium of the Schomburg Center for Research Black Culture


Florence Price

Date of Composition: 


Performing Artists:

  • Thomas Cunnigham, conductor

  • Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violinist