Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

America's Florence

Symphony Orchestra
2019 MYS Concerto Competition Winner

Price  Dances in the Canebrakes
Kabalevsky, Cello Concerto No. 1 (mvm't 1)
Palka  Letter to Florence Price
Price  Symphony No. 1

Concert Opened by Sinfonietta Orchestra

This May, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony led by Artistic Director Raúl Gómezm illuminates the diversity of our nation’s rich cultural tapestry with "America’s Florence." Named for the pioneering African-American composer Florence Price, this concert features what is believed to be the West Coast Premiere of her Symphony No. 1 in E minor, winner of the first place prize for an orchestral work in the progressive Rodman Wanamaker Competition of 1932. Premiered the following year by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, this was the first symphony by an African-American woman ever to be performed by a major American orchestra. By marrying the finesse of her traditional, European style training with the raw and soulful qualities of African-American folk music, Price charmingly and very effectively captured the spirit of an era in American history.

Also on the program is Price's vivid and playful Dances in the Canebrakes, which suggests a cakewalk, a rag, and a hot and languid summer soiree, all among the sugarcane. Originally composed for piano, this suite is orchestrated by William Grant Still, widely regarded as "the Dean of African-American composers."

The Authentic Voice, the season’s three-part commissioning project presented in collaboration with contemporary music ensemble Fear No Music, concludes with a World Premiere by MYS violinist Katie Palka. Developed through the Young Composers Project, Palka’s Letter to Florence Price honors this incredible female artist while lending a modern voice to the continuing musical story of our nation. Filled with shimmering orchestral timbres, this lyrical work incorporates Palka’s musical interests that lie outside the classical tradition, reflecting the artistic values of Price herself who often reached beyond the classical canon as inspiration for her own work. MYS thanks Ronni Lacroute for her generous support of "The Authentic Voice."

MYS also performs the first movement from Dmitri Kabalevsky’s Cello Concerto No. 1, featuring a solo performance by Ethan Tseng, one of the winners of the 2019 MYS Concerto Competition. As well as being a very gifted young cellist, Ethan is also an award-winning golfer. His precision and technical skill combines with heartfelt musicality that belies his youth and lends itself beautifully to this particular concerto’s rustic and passionate melodies.

* Broadway World (Los Angeles) and G. Schirmer / Associated Music Publishers have promoted the event, in addition to All Classical Portland recognizing the concert as one of spring's "must-see" events. 

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall : Upcoming Events


Oregon Symphony presents Mahler’s First Symphony at the Portland'5 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall May 18-20...

Showing: 05/18 - 05/20

Metropolitan Youth Symphony presents their America's Florence concert at the Portland'5 Arlene Schnitzer...

Showing: 05/21

Oregon Symphony presents Boyz II Men at the Portland'5 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Wednesday, May 22...

Showing: 05/22

Monqui Presents welcomes Tycho to the Portland'5 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Saturday, September 7,...

Showing: 09/07

Monqui Presents welcomes producer/songwriter/performer Maggie Rogers to the Portland'5 Arlene Schnitzer...

Showing: 09/12

Oregon Symphony presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert at the Portland'5 Arlene Schnitzer...

Showing: 09/13 - 09/15