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Music library joins Boston-based collection project

As part of an initiative by the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), the Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library has joined forces with eight other regional academic and research libraries to collect the published works of selected contemporary music composers.

The cooperative agreement will address an underrepresentation of living composers in music libraries, said Lewis Music Librarian Peter Munstedt. As part of the agreement, the individual libraries will collect the published works of their selected composers, which will then be available through collection sharing with other BLC members. Other participating schools include Brandeis University, Boston University, Tufts University and Wellesley College.

The Boston Library Consortium, founded in 1970, is a cooperative association of 16 large academic and research libraries. Its purpose is to share human and information resources so that the collective strengths of the group advance the research and learning of the members' constituents.

Composers Libby Larsen, Osvaldo Golijov and Roger Reynolds were chosen by MIT. "Much to my surprise, all the composers wrote back or telephoned to express their excitement about this project," Dr. Munstedt said, adding that Ms. Larsen even sent the library a box of her latest published scores.


Ms. Larsen will visit MIT on Wednesday, March 1 to tour the Lewis Music Library, meet faculty and students and discuss her music at an informal performance for the MIT community from 4-5pm in the Lewis Music Library. Selections of Ms. Larsen's music for solo instruments, chorus and solo voice will be performed by MIT faculty and students.

In the last 20 years, Ms. Larsen has produced numerous works for orchestra, dance, opera, choral, chamber and solo performance. Her honors include a 1994 Grammy for her CD The Art of Arlene Auger, which features Ms. Larsen'sSonnets 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.

"My style can be recognized by its rhythm more than anything else," Ms. Larsen said in a 1996 interview. "I believe that music springs from language of the people. I am intensely interested in how music can be derived from the rhythms and pitches of spoken American English."

In 1973, Ms. Larsen, who lives in Minneapolis, co-founded the Minnesota Composer's Forum, a composer's cooperative which became the model for promoting and establishing composers in America. She has served as composer in residence with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Charlotte Symphony and is an advisor to many musical organizations.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 1, 2000.

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