The Kennedy Center

Libby Larsen


Born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1950, Libby Larsen is one of America's most prolific and most performed living composers. She grew up in Minnesota and was educated at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches and composes. She studied composition under the guidance of Dominick Argento, Eric Stokes, and Paul Fetter.

She has created a catalogue of more than 200 works ranging from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral and choral scores. She has received many awards and accolades. The Philadelphia Inquirer praised her music for its clear textures comprised of easily absorbed rhythms and appealing melodic contours that make singing seem the most natural expression imaginable.

Her opera, Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus, was selected as one of the eight best classical music events of 1990 by USA Today. Libby Larsen is the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra, moreover, she has held residencies with the California Institute of the Arts, the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, the Philadelphia School of the Arts, the Cincinnati Conservatory, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Colorado Symphony.

Larsen is the holder of the Papamarkou Chair at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress. In 1973, Larsen co-founded (with Stephen Paulus) the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum, which has been an invaluable advocate for composers in America. She is currently completing a book, The Concert Hall That Fell Asleep and Woke Up as a Car Radio.
Libby Larsen


  • The Settling Years
  • Song-Dances to the Light
  • Strum
  • The Atmosphere as a Fluid System