• Dr. G.

Palka Program Notes


Hi all,

Please read Katie's thoughtful notes about her piece below. It will inform your performance and provide context to the piece.

Official Program Notes:

"Letter to Florence Price is written in honor of Florence Price, whose Symphony No. 1 in E Minor we’re performing in what is believed to be its West Coast premiere. Florence Price should be recognized as one of the great American composers, yet for too long she’s not gotten the recognition she deserves. She was a trailblazer in so many ways, and the barriers she broke helped carved the path for greater inclusion for all. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to perform her music tonight.

My Letter to Florence Price simultaneously expresses my gratitude to Florence Price and celebrates the progress that has been made, as well as recognizes all the progress that still remains to be made. The piece is built from chords designed to convey this emotional duality, using pitches closely related to those Price uses in her Symphony No. 1 in E Minor which you heard tonight, and most heavily references motifs from her second movement. My Letter to Florence Price is a reflection on Florence Price’s legacy and an expression of hope for a more inclusive future in the concert hall and beyond."

Further notes from the composer:

"(...) My piece is trying to convey an emotional duality -- both celebrating progress and having gratitude for trailblazers like Florence Price, and also recognizing the progress that still remains to be made -- it's not an entirely positive or negative character, but a mix of multiple emotions existing simultaneously. The tone of the piece is trying to demonstrate that mix of emotions that isn't quantifiable as one distinct thing. I feel like this piece is not just a reflection of feelings about the path towards greater inclusion in classical music, but just in general the mix of feelings about where things are in the world now -- seeing and appreciating small victories when they happen, but also increasingly worried about all the issues that remain unresolved. And trying to hold onto hope -- hope in our potential to change and become better, more empathetic versions of ourselves, and our capacity to care about each other and lift each other up, and envision and strive towards a better world."