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Grammy-Winning Eminent Composer-in-Residence Schedules UW Events

September 13, 2016
head portrait of a woman
Libby Larsen

Composer Libby Larsen will work with University of Wyoming faculty and students later this month, and will discuss her career in a public event as part of the UW Department of Music’s Eminent Artists program.

During the 2016-17 concert season, the UW Department of Music will host a number of world-renowned Eminent Artists. The season begins with the music of Larsen, Eminent Composer-in-Residence and Grammy winner.

Larsen will be in residence this semester from Sept. 19-23 and again Dec. 5-9. She also plans spring semester visits Feb. 6-10 and April 3-7.

During her residence, she will work with UW faculty to rehearse her chamber music, visit classes to talk about her music career and give composers private lessons. In the spring, she also will work with UW’s larger ensembles.

Larsen will discuss her music and career during a free public event Thursday, Sept. 22, from 1:10-2 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts recital hall.

“We also have some social events planned so that music faculty and students get some good one-on-one or more intimate time with her,” says Anne Guzzo, UW music associate professor.

As part of the program, UW music faculty and guests will perform a free concert, “Songs from Letters,” that same day at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts recital hall. Featured will be Guzzo, composer; and performers Maureen Boddicker and Cristin Colvin, sopranos; Theresa Bogard, piano; Mara Plotkin, clarinet; and Alaunde Copley-Woods, flute.

Larsen is among America’s most prolific and most performed living composers. She has created a catalog of more than 500 works spanning virtually every genre, from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and more than 12 operas.

Her music has been praised for its dynamic, deeply inspired and vigorous contemporary American spirit. She constantly is sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles and orchestras around the world, establishing a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.

Larsen has received numerous awards and accolades, including a 1993 Grammy as producer of the CD “The Art of Arlene Augér,” an acclaimed recording that features Larsen’s sonnets. 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, Larsen has held residencies with the California Institute of the Arts, the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, the Philadelphia School of the Arts, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony.

Larsen’s many commissions and recordings are a testament to her fruitful collaborations with a long list of world-renowned artists, including the King’s Singers, Benita Valente and Frederica von Stade. Her works are widely recorded on such labels as Angel/EMI, Nonesuch, Decca and Koch International.

She is a past holder of the 2003-04 Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education at the Library of Congress and also a recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Peabody award.

“Music exists in an infinity of sound. I think of all music as existing in the substance of the air itself,” Larsen says. “It is the composer’s task to order and make sense of sound, in time and space, to communicate something about being alive through music.”

For more information about the Eminent Composer-in-Residence program, call the UW Department of Music at (307) 766-5242 or email Guzzo at

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