Durham Symphony Orchestra

sepia-toned portrait of Florence Price looking at the camera
G. Nelidoff / Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville http://bit.ly/2JwkZrO

Florence Price was the first African American woman to have her symphony performed by a major orchestra. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed her work in 1933, and for any other composer that event would have launched a successful career, but Price’s talents were overlooked because of the color of her skin and her gender.

An image of Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky
Public Domain

19th-century Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky is considered one of the most popular composers in history. However the man behind ballets like “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” had a secret that clouded his personal life. Even though he never publicly came out, Tchaikovsky was gay. His sexual identity influenced his work and may have contributed to his mysterious and sudden death.