Media Relations

Press Release:


World Renowned Composer Libby Larsen

to Deliver Public Lecture at FAU

FAU Music Faculty will Perform Concert of Larsen’s Works

            BOCA RATON, FL (November 15, 2007) – Libby Larsen, one of the world’s most prolific and most performed living composers, will deliver a lecture on Friday, November 30 at noon in the Arts and Letters Building, room 219, on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road.   The lecture, entitled “Music in the 21st Century: A Composer’s Perspective,” is free and open to the public.   There also will be a concert of Larsen’s works performed by FAU faculty and commentary by Larsen on Wednesday, November 28 at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre on FAU’s Boca Raton campus.   The concert is free with a suggested donation of $10 to support programs in the department of music.    

            Larsen has written over 200 works that range from intimate vocal art song pieces to massive orchestral scores.    Her work has been described as modern music that is approachable for a broad audience.   The Wall Street Journal wrote that Larsen “has come up with a way to make contemporary opera both musically current and accessible to the average audience.”

            In 1994, Larsen won a Grammy for producing the CD “The Art of Arlene Augér,” which features Larsen’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese,” inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous poem of the same name.   She also wrote the music and libretto for   the opera “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus,” which was selected as one of the eight best classical musical events of 1990 by USA Today.  

            Larsen is the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra.   She has held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony.   Larsen is currently working on a book, tentatively titled “The Concert Hall That Fell Asleep and Woke Up as Car Radio.”

            “Libby Larsen is considered by many to be the most influential composer of the present day,” said Heather Coltman, chair of FAU’s department of music.   “We are very fortunate to have her here. She has a fresh outlook on sound and the impact of new music, and also on ways that performers connect to audiences.”

            Larsen holds the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar Chair for 2007/2008.   The chair, endowed by philanthropist Dorothy F. Schmidt, is devoted to bringing outstanding figures in the performing and visual arts to FAU and has been held by such luminaries as dancer Edward Villella, art critics Roberta Smith and Gerry Saltz, Shakespearean actors Estelle Kohler and Bill Homewood, and environmental sculptor and architect Michael Singer.  

            Larsen’s compositions, to be performed at the November 28 concert, include one of her early works “Piano Suite,” which consists of the four standard dance movements that comprise a baroque instrumental suite; “Songs from Letters,” which is an art song based on letters written between 1880 and 1902 from Calamity Jane, the sharp-shooting, hard-drinking Western legend, to her daughter Janey; and the fast-paced and jazzy “Four on the Floor,” which was inspired by boogie-woogie and is a celebration of American musicians.  

            The concert will be performed by Heather Coltman, pianist and chair of FAU’s department of music; duo pianists Ed Turgeon and Ann Louise-Turgeon; Sandra McClain, soprano; Paul Green, clarinet; Tony Lavender, percussion; Saul Bitran, violin; Cornelia Brubeck, cello; and Ben Joella, double bass.  

            The lecture and concert are being sponsored by the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholars Chair and organized by the department of music in the School of the Arts in FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. Larsen will return to the FAU campus in the Spring for an additional cycle of concerts and lectures.   For further information on the lecture or concert and other public events with Libby Larsen, call 561-297-3820 or visit

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