Crane School of Music Presents Guest Composer Libby Larsen


SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will host the 2013 Visiting Guest Composer, Dr. Libby Larsen, for a concert of her works on April 3.

SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will host the Grammy-winning American composer Dr. Libby Larsen for a visit and a concert performance featuring faculty and students in April.

The concert, featuring Dr. Larsen’s works among others, will be offered on Wednesday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater. This is event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

“Libby Larsen has established herself as an important composer with a very distinctive, and distinctively American, musical voice. She has also made a mark on the national arts scene as an eloquent spokesperson for music, for the arts, and for the place of the arts in our cultural life. Having the opportunity to experience her perspective directly, in person, and to be able to interact with her will, I'm sure, be extremely memorable for students, and will have a real and positive impact on their musical thinking,” said Dr. Michael Sitton, dean of The Crane School of Music.

As the 2013 Visiting Guest Composer, Larsen will bring her expertise and perspective to discussions and workshops with Crane students, faculty and the campus community.

“While The Crane School’s own outstanding faculty members bring their expertise and vision to our students on a daily basis, it is always enriching to bring in other voices from outside the School, to add even more breadth and depth to the student experience. Frankly, we’re all looking forward to spending some time with her music, because it is unfailingly fresh, engaging and compelling,” said Sitton.

Larsen will work directly with students and faculty during her visit, giving lectures, speaking with classes, working with ensembles, leading a masterclass and consulting with composition majors to give them feedback on their works.

In addition, Crane School of Music student Alexandra Tubbs said, “She will be eating lunch on campus, and I’m sure that faculty members and students will have an opportunity to have some conversations with her about her work.”

About the composer:

Dr. Libby Larsen is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of more than 500 works spanning virtually every genre, from intimate vocal and chamber music, to massive orchestral works, including over 15 operas. Widely recorded, with more than 50 CDs of her work, Larsen has won Grammy Awards as well as the 2010 George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America. She is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.

Larsen has been hailed for “assembling one of the most impressive bodies of music of our time” by the Hartford Courant. Her music has been praised for its “clear textures, easily absorbed rhythms and appealing melodic contours that make singing seem the most natural expression imaginable,” in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Wall Street Journal  said that “Libby Larsen has come up with a way to make contemporary opera both musically current and accessible to the average audience.” Fanfare magazine raved that “her ability to write memorable new music completely within the confines of traditional harmonic language is most impressive.”

Libby Larsen has received numerous awards and accolades, including a 1994 Grammy as producer of the album, “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. Larsen has had many collaborations with a long list of world-renowned artists, including the King’s Singers, Benita Valente and Frederica von Stade, among others. Her works are widely recorded on such labels as Angel/EMI, Nonesuch, Decca and Koch International.

As a past holder of the 2003-04 Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education at the U.S. Library of Congress, and the 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, Larsen is a vigorous, articulate champion of the music and musicians of our time. In 1973, she co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum along with Stephen Paulus. Now called the American Composers Forum, it has been an invaluable advocate for composers in a difficult, transitional time for American arts. Consistently sought after as a leader in the generation of millennial thinkers, Larsen’s music and ideas have refreshed the concert music tradition and the composer’s role in it.

For more information about Libby Larsen, please visit

For more information about SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, please visit

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution.