Pianist Michelle Cann makes history playing music composed by Black pioneer

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Award-winning pianist Michelle Cann is taking center stage in her Philadelphia Orchestra debut with her performance of Florence Price's Piano Concerto in One Movement.

Cann said like Price, who was a musical prodigy and pioneer in the 1930s, she also had to overcome a lot of adversity as a classically trained Black musician.

"She kind of carved her own path even with the music she that she wrote. All of the pieces she wrote are a reflection of her as both a Black woman and also classically trained pianist," Cann said.

After Price's death, her original score was lost for decades. The original score was recently discovered and is being performed by Cann in her Philadelphia Orchestra debut.

Cann said playing Price's pieces speaks volumes given that Price was rejected by many major orchestras.

Cann says that she wouldn't be able to be where she is today if it weren't for Price paving the way.

"One of the most exciting things about the concerto is Price takes you through many different genres and styles in the 20-minute performance," said Cann. "In the last movement, she just starts dancing," she added. "It's called the 'juba dance' and it's like a cakewalk. And you feel the 1930s. You feel all the music of Black people at that time."

Cann was recently named the Eleanor Sokoloff chair at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. It's a position held by only forward-thinking female pianists.

You can purchase a ticket for Cann's digital performance by clicking, HERE.
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