Libby Larsen

From Wind Repertory Project
Libby Larsen


Libby Larsen (b. 24 December 1950, Wilmington, Del.) is an American composer.

Larsen attended the University of Minnesota for both her undergraduate and graduate work. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in theory and composition in 1971, a Masters of Arts degree in composition in 1975, and a Ph.D. in theory and composition in 1978. Throughout her studies at university, she studied composition with Dominick Argento, Paul Fetler and Eric Stokes.

Ms. Larsen has created a catalogue of over 500 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral and choral scores. Her music has been praised for its dynamic, deeply inspired, and vigorous contemporary American spirit.

Larsen has been hailed as "the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively" (USA Today); as "a composer who has made the art of symphonic writing very much her own." (Gramophone); as "a mistress of orchestration" (Times Union); and for "assembling one of the most impressive bodies of music of our time" (Hartford Courant).

Libby Larsen has received numerous awards and accolades, including a 1994 Grammy as producer of the CD The Art of Arlene Augér, an acclaimed recording that features Larsen's Sonnets from the Portuguese. Her opera Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus was selected as one of the eight best classical music events of 1990 by USA Today. The first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra, she has held residencies with the California Institute of the Arts, the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, the Philadelphia School of the Arts, the Cincinnati Conservatory, and the Minnesota Orchestra. Larsen's many commissions and recordings are a testament to her fruitful collaborations with world-renowned artists, including The King's Singers, Benita Valente, and Frederica von Stade, among others.

Holder of the 2003-2004 Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education at the Library of Congress and recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Libby Larsen is a vigorous, articulate champion of the music and musicians of our time. In 1973, she co-founded (with Stephen Paulus) the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum, which has been an invaluable advocate for composers in a difficult, transitional time for American arts.

Works for Winds


  • The Horizon Leans Forward…, compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 382.
  • Libby Larsen website
  • Libby Larsen, Wikipedia. Accessed 9 July 2019
  • Moorhouse, Linda R. “Libby Larsen.” In A Composer’s Insight, Volume 2, Timothy Salzman, editor. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications, 2004. pp. 52–93.