Media, Electronic & Hybrid

Study, 'O Magnum Mysterium' for String Quartet  (2020) SoundCloud iconaudio

Remote-recorded, lightly processed study of de Victoria's choral masterwork. 5 min.

Luminous Angels  (2019) SoundCloud iconaudio , Luminous Memories  (2020) SoundCloud iconaudio

Hybrid orchestral trailers for a mock undersea action/adventure game. Each 2 min.

Prelude  (2015) SoundCloud iconaudio

Improvisation for MIDI piano. 1 min.

Mostly Cowbell  (2019) SoundCloud iconaudio

Found-sound, cross-globe collaboration with my husband on travel in Austria. 4 min.

Doepferiffic Bzaizow  (2020) SoundCloud iconaudio

Messing around with an analog synth at the San Francisco Conservatory. 2 min.

Orchestral

Awash  (in progress)

Symphonic meditation on water and light in the San Francisco Bay Area. 12 min.

Fughetta  (2015 rev. 2018) SoundCloud iconaudio

Symphony orchestra. 3.5 min.

Prelude to Rainbow Crow  (2015)

Ballet opening scene. Chamber strings, winds, perc. 4 min.

Chamber

Airwaves for SIP String Quartet  (2020) YouTube icon video

Written for remote performance during the 2020 pandemic; premiered by the Friction Quartet using Streamyard. 5 mvmts, 9 min.

Ionian Suite  (2019)

String quartet inspired by the seascapes and cultural history of Greece. 5 mvmts, 16 min.

Fantasy on a G Minor Scale  (2017) SoundCloud iconaudio

Tonal chorale evolves into 7/8 time and quartal harmony. Nonet plus piano, perc. 4 min.

Sonata in D Minor  (2014)

Exploration of neo-Romantic sonata format for cello and piano. 3 mvmts, 18 min.

Choral

What We Are  (2019) SoundCloud iconaudio Icon: text documenttext

Musings on Homo sapiens for SATB choir and 3 soloists. English. 3 mvmts, 10 min.

Shalom / Pax / Salaam  (2018) SoundCloud iconaudio

Traditional greetings of peace in Hebrew, Latin and Arabic. SATB. 1 min. Third prize, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Biennial Choral Composition Competition.

Metamorphoses: The Creation  (2015) SoundCloud iconaudio

Ovid's creation story for SSA or SATB choir and percussion. Latin. 7 mvmts, 18 min.

Lullaby  (2015) SoundCloud iconaudio Icon: text documenttext

7-voice lament and reconciliation with loss. English. SSAATTB. 4.5 min.

Dramatic Vocal

American Music: The Rediscovery of Florence Price  (2019) SoundCloud iconaudio Icon: text documenttext

Chamber opera-in-miniature. 2 soprani, tenor, and piano quartet. English. 12 min.

Beyond the Shoe  (2019) SoundCloud iconaudio

Nursery-rhyme-inspired art song. Tenor & piano. Collab. with poet Roberto Rodriguez. 3 min. Second prize, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Biennial Art Song Competition.

Solo Instrumental

City Voices for Solo Cello  (2018) SoundCloud iconaudio

Remembering sights and sounds of walks through Paris and San Francisco. 8 min.

Cinq Petits Morceaux  (2015) SoundCloud iconaudio

Homage to early 20th-C explorations for solo piano. 5 mvmts, 8 min.

Prelude and Fughetta  (2015)

Solo piano. 2 mvmts, 3.5 min.

Variation on a Carulli Andantino  (2014)

Solo guitar. 3 min.

×

What We Are

I

Restless stews of carbon chemistry
In flux persisting,
Time-walking confusions of organic matter
In brief existence,
We don’t know what we are.
 
Conflicted meshes of sly contradiction,
Observers, deniers, truth-seekers, liars,
We don’t even know what we are.
 
Spark of soul, flame of higher power—
In deo speramus.
Blessed empathy, soulless cruelty—
In deo fidemus.
 
Creators of beauty.
God only knows.
Hateful destroyers.
God only knows.
Deus solus scit.
Deus solus novit.
 
Awestruck lovers
Watching amazed
As galaxies rush on,
apart,
away.
 
God only knows what we are.

II

Particles shimmering here and gone
Hold, combine, evolve, grow, move, live
To look upward, outward, and see!
Then subside, expire, fragment
Disperse and diffuse, and
Reunite with the rest.

III

Don't be afraid.
Such beauty
must be good,
and holds love.
 

—for Mom,
S. A. Workman, 2018 

×

Lullaby

 
Let darken now the sun-bright day
And close your eyes in silence.
Heavy remembrance, fall away.
Sleep now.
Rest you now.
 
The deepest night that all obscures
Envelop you in sable soft.
Cradled in kind forgetfulness
Sleep now
And be at peace.
 
In quiet slumber, numb to all
Dreamless rest and timeless sleep.
Ponderous breath, let fall away.
Sleep now.
Rest you now.
 
Sleep now
And be at peace.

—S. A. Workman, 2015 

 Photo: doorway from dark to light

×

American Music:
The Rediscovery of Florence B. Price

Roles

Florence Price, soprano

Discoverer 1, soprano

Discoverer 2, contralto or tenor

Instrumentation

violin, viola,

cello, piano

 

for Chasiti Lashay Walker,
the inspiration for this piece,
and Jasmine Johnson and Auburn Joseph
with admiration and gratitude

Photo: premiere performance of this chamber opera at the SF Conservatory of Music, spring 2019

Introduction

In 2009, two property renovators began work on a neglected home south of Chicago.1,2 A protected corner of the attic yielded a curious discovery: a sizeable collection of books, personal correspondence and musical manuscripts. In neat lettering on the carefully hand-inked sheet music, one name appeared again and again: Florence B. Price. A quick internet search identified composer Florence Beatrice Smith Price (1887-1953), the first African-American woman to have her music played by a major U.S. symphony. The University of Arkansas added the rediscovered materials to their existing Florence Price collection, making newly available several works that had been thought lost, including her fourth symphony and two violin concertos.3

The present 12-minute chamber opera was inspired by Price’s life and music, and the gentle dignity and determination reflected in her letters. In a fictional reimagining of the 2009 discovery, this work quotes one of several letters that Price wrote to Boston Symphony Director Serge Koussevitzky, asking him to consider her work.4 Koussevitzky was an important force in the development of American symphonic music, helping to promote the work of Aaron Copland, among others, and programming as many as one-hundred new American works over the years 1924–1946.5,6

Read more (PDF, 600Kb)


1. Micaela Baranello, “Welcoming a Black Female Composer Into the Canon. Finally,” The New York Times, February 9, 2018.
2. Alex Ross, “The Rediscovery of Florence Price: How an African-American Composer’s Works Were Saved from Destruction,” The New Yorker, February 5, 2018.
3. Florence Beatrice Smith Price, Papers: Correspondence, Musical Scores, and Other Papers, 1906-1975 and addenda (Manuscript Collections 988, 988a, 988b). Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries. Accessed July16, 2018. https://libraries.uark.edu/specialcollections/findingaids/price.html, https://libraries.uark.edu/specialcollections/findingaids/ead/transform.asp?xml=mc988a, https://libraries.uark.edu/specialcollections/findingaids/ead/transform.asp?xml=mc988b.
4. Florence Beatrice Smith Price, Personal correspondence to Serge Koussevitzky. Serge Koussevitzky Archive, Music Division, Library of Congress, as quoted in Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3, eds. Rae Linda Brown and Wayne Shirley (Middleton: A-R Editions, Inc., 2008), xxxv.
5. Leon Botstein, “On Conductors, Composers, and Music Directors: Serge Koussevitzky in Retrospect,” The Musical Quarterly 86, no. 4 (Winter 2002): 583-590.
6. Hugo Leichtentritt, “About this Book,” Serge Koussevitzky, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the New American Music (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1947).


Music and text copyright Shawne Anell Workman, 2019. Quotes from Mrs. Price's letters included under academic fair use as part of the thesis for the Master of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 2019.

Bars 23–28 of the work:
SYMPHONY NO. 1 IN E MINOR
Florence B. Price
Copyright © 2018 by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
This arrangement © 2019 by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved.
Used by Permission.

Bars 33–39 of the work:
SYMPHONY NO. 3 IN C MINOR
By Florence B. Price
Copyright © 2018 by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
This arrangement © 2019 by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved.
Used by Permission.