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Prolific composer Larsen wins Arts Council award

Libby Larsen
Libby Larsen

Libby Larsen, one of America's most prolific and most performed living composers, has been named winner of the 2003 Eugene McDermott Award by the Council for the Arts at MIT. The award will be presented on Thursday, Oct. 23 at the council's 31st annual meeting.

Larsen's catalogue of more than 200 works spans virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral and choral scores. Her music has been praised for its dynamic, deeply inspired and vigorous contemporary American spirit; her honors include a 1994 Grammy for the CD "The Art of Arlene Auger," which features her "Sonnets from the Portuguese."

The first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra, Larsen (who lives in Minneapolis) 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, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony. In 1973, she co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum (now the American Composers Forum), which has been an invaluable advocate for composers.

MIT students accompanied by lecturer Charles Shadle will perform vocal works by Larsen at the award presentation. As part of the McDermott Award, she will return to MIT in the spring to work with students.

The McDermott Award in the Arts was established in 1974 by the Council for the Arts to honor the memory of Eugene McDermott, benefactor to the Institute in education and the arts.

The Council for the Arts at MIT is a volunteer organization of MIT alumni and friends founded in 1972 to foster and support the visual, literary and performing arts at the Institute. Other highlights of the annual meeting will include a tour by Professor Anne Whiston Spirn of her Compton Gallery photography exhibition "Knowing Where to Stand"; a sculpture tour led by List Visual Arts Center Curator Bill Arning; and a visit to the List Center's Michael Joo exhibition.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 22, 2003.

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