PBS series explores the legacy of Florence Price

"Florence Price and the American Migration," an episode of "Great Performances: Now Hear This," visits the Arkansas archives where many of the composer's manuscripts are housed.

For PBS’ “Great Performances: Now Hear This: Florence Price and the American Migration,” host Scott Yoo follows the trail of the onetime Chicago-based composer, now enjoying a renaissance after decades of near obscurity.

He begins with a visit to the Arkansas archives holding Price’s works, many of which were found 12 years ago in an abandoned house near St. Anne, Ill., 60 miles south of Chicago. In scenes shot at Orchestra Hall, Yoo joins pianist Karen Walwyn to discuss where Price grew up and the spiritual music surrounding her in the South, before she moved to Chicago in search of opportunity. In addition, Yoo interviews Frank Villella, director of the CSOA’s Rosenthal Archives, at the Auditorium Theatre, where Price’s First Symphony received its premiere under Frederick Stock in 1933.

Later, Yoo explores Southern migrants’ impact on the city and gospel music with singer Vernon Oliver Price and former choir director Lou Della Evans Reid. Other performances by musicians inspired by Price include pianist Michelle Cann, blues musician Jonn Primer and opera singer Roderick Dixon, all showing how powerful Price’s influence remains today. The program, which premiered April 15, is available to stream for free until May 13.