Florence Schwartz was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and began her violin studies with Margaret Randall at the Cleveland Institute of Music at the age of five. She studied later there with David Cerone, and won numerous concerto competitions in Cleveland, at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Florence received a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music, and a Master of Music from the Mannes School of Music. Her other teachers include Donald Weilerstein, Arnold Steinhardt, Felix Galimir, Angel Reyes, and David Arben.
Florence was appointed to the CSO in 1989 by Sir Georg Solti. She lives in Winnetka and has three children, Max, Solomon, and Sally. Gardening is a favorite pastime, along with jewelry making, needlework, and yoga.