In a special Black History Month tribute, artist Louise Cutler and the Fort Collins Symphony will honor the legacy of pioneering Black American composer Florence Price. The tribute includes the Colorado premiere of Price’s work Ethiopia’s Shadow in America and the unveiling of a new painting inspired by her music at the “Dvořák Discovery” concert at 7:30 p.m. MST on Saturday, February 3, 2024, in-person at the Lincoln Center and via live-stream.
Following the performance, Cutler’s painting will be up for auction to benefit the symphony’s Open Notes Program, which provides free tickets and educational programs to underserved populations in Fort Collins.
Florence Price broke barriers as the first Black woman to have her music performed by a major American orchestra, the Chicago Symphony. But despite her achievements, Price faced prejudice and discrimination through her life because of both her gender and the color of her skin. After her death in 1953, Price and her music were lost and forgotten until a collection of her unpublished manuscripts was discovered in 2009. Among those manuscripts was Ethiopia’s Shadow in America, composed in 1932 but not performed for the first time until 2015, a staggering 83 years after its composition.
In response to this significant performance and Price’s enduring legacy, artist Louise Cutler created a new painting inspired by Ethiopia’s Shadow in America.
“Florence’s passion for music and the creation of it was truly remarkable, especially in the face of racial discrimination, hatred, political and creative restraints,” Cutler said. “As an artist, a woman, and a Black American, I could relate to her struggles.”
Ethiopia’s Shadow in America traces the physical and emotional journeys of those who were enslaved against their will and brought to the United States, from their first arrival to their forced adaptation to a new life. Its three sections are titled: 1. “The Arrival of the Negro in America when first brought here as a slave,” 2. “His Resignation and Faith,” and 3. “His Adaptation, a fusion of his native and acquired impulses.”
“In order for me to create a painting, I first have to understand the music I am listening to, which means I have to listen to it, study it, and immerse myself in it…I was drawn into her life, imagining what it must have been like to possess such incredible talent, creativity, and passion for music and yet be unable to fully showcase it to the world.”
Louise Cutler’s artwork has been featured in Art Business News, Art World News, Edge of Faith, and Beyond Words Magazine. She was selected as one of Art Business News magazines’ “Top Emerging Artists.” Her painting “Alone” was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London’s Summer Exhibition. Her work has been displayed in The Boulder Museum, The Sandy Springs Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry, The DuSable Museum of African American History, Museum of Art in Fort Collins, Sculpture in The Park, Stola Contemporary Art Gallery in Chicago, and the Arvada Art Center Gallery, among others.
To learn more about the painting or participate in the auction, please visit the Symphony’s website at FCSymphony.org/Painting.
To learn more about the concert and performance, please visit FCSymphony.org/Discovery.
For More Information, please contact Jeremy D. Cuebas, Marketing and Communications Director, at 970.482.4823 or via email at Marketing@FCSymphony.org
Signature Concert 3 sponsors: Trois Coeurs Foundation, Kenneth & Myra Monfort Charitable Foundation, and Plante Moran.
FCS Season sponsors: Arts Without End, City of Fort Collins Fort Fund, Colorado Creative Industries, David & Alison Dennis, Lyric Cinema, National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Ed Siegel, and Dr. Peter Springberg.