Poster Pianist Michelle Cann
Michelle Cann releases her debut album, 'Revival: Music of Price and Bonds.'
Courtesy of the artist
New Classical Tracks®

Pianist Michelle Cann explores the music of Bonds and Price in 'Revival'

New Classical Tracks (Extended Interview) -  Michelle Cann

Michelle Cann – Revival: Music of Price and Bonds (Curtis Studio)

New Classical Tracks - Michelle Cann
New Classical Tracks - June 28, 2023

Pianist Michelle Cann has had a pretty incredible journey. Her path into the world of piano led her to the Cleveland Institute and the Curtis Institute of Music, which is where she teaches. In 2022, she was the recipient of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence. Now, her journey goes down another life-changing path with the release of her debut recording, Revival: Music of Price and Bonds.

“Growing up, I didn't play any music by any Black composers other than church music. Nothing in the classical field was really ever assigned to me. I wasn't really aware of anyone except for Scott Joplin,” Cann says. “And it wasn't until 2016 that I was introduced to the Florence Price Piano Concerto and I was asked to play it. I'd never heard of her, never heard of the piece, and I read through it. You can only imagine that moment and put yourself in my shoes. I've never been aware of somebody like her in this field.

“And I remember, at that point, I was reading her story. I was looking for anything I could find about her. I was looking to see, ‘What else did she write?’ And then one of the things that was out there at that time was her piano sonata. How have I never heard of this piano sonata? I’m a pianist!

“I remember exactly where I was, sitting at the piano in my apartment at the time, and I was reading through it and there were tears going down my eyes. One of the most beautiful things ever written for piano is the second movement of that piano sonata. And I called my mother and I was emotional and my mom was getting emotional because I asked myself, ‘How could they deny this woman her place in history? Why did no one know to share this with me?’

“It was from there that I came across Margaret Bonds. I read that Margaret Bonds was actually one of Florence Price's most successful students. They met because Price moved to Chicago alone. She moved from Little Rock, Arkansas. She had kids, was divorced and had no connections. She was just starting to make them. And one of them was with the Bonds family. They actually took her in.

“And Margaret Bond, of course, had her own story. She went on to become a great composer and pianist, and she premiered many of Florence Price's works as a performer. She didn't write as much for solo piano, not like Price. One of her most influential and important works is the Spiritual Suite, which is on this album. I had to include the suite because it is just so great what she does with these spirituals.”

What do you feel like you personally bring to their music as a pianist?

“I feel that I am on this journey with these composers, and the final thing I feel is a huge sense of pride. I feel so honored to be one of the conduits of their story.

“So being part of this rediscovery and excitement about their story and their music and their voice in America that is everything to me. And when I perform their music, I perform it with that knowledge and that pride.

“Because if I can do anything with this album, it’s to share this music with the world. These women deserve a place in the canon of great American classical music.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Michelle Cann – Revival: Music of Price and Bonds (Curtis Studio)

Michelle Cann (official site)

Love the music?

Donate by phone

Show your support by making a gift to YourClassical.

Each day, we’re here for you with thoughtful streams that set the tone for your day – not to mention the stories and programs that inspire you to new discovery and help you explore the music you love.

YourClassical is available for free, because we are listener-supported public media. Take a moment to make your gift today.

More Ways to Give

Your Donation


Latest New Classical Tracks® Episodes


Latest New Classical Tracks® Episodes


About New Classical Tracks®

Host Julie Amacher provides an in-depth exploration of a new classical music release each week.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Radio Public, or RSS.

About New Classical Tracks®