Libby Larsen

Libby Larsen

1950 -

Comfortable and skilled in writing for all types of musical ensembles, Libby Larsen's vocal works are her most popular and most notable compositions.

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The YouTube videos and audio tracks of some of Larsen's songs, provided in the media player on the right sidebar, are made possible through a collaboration with SongFest. For more information about each recording, please visit the entries for the individual songs.

The performers in for "If I Leave All For Thee" and "How Do I Love Thee," provided in the audio player to the right, are Anne Jennifer Nash, soprano, and Donna Loewy, piano, and this performance took place at Pepperdine University at SongFest 2010. To listen, please click on the track name itself.

The audio recordings of My Ántonia, provided in the audio playlist to the right, are made possible through a collaboration between the Hampsong Foundation and SongFest. The performers are Danya Katok, soprano, and Dimitri Dover, piano, and the performance took place at SongFest 2012 at the Colburn School. To listen, please click on the track name itself.


A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Libby Larsen studied with Dominick Argento at the University of Minnesota. As stated by Mary Ann Feldman in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, "...Although she [Larsen] has written abundantly for orchestras and mixed ensembles, she is attracted in particular to the qualities of the voice – in this she betrays the influence of Argento." Besides her excellent song cycles (including Sonnets to the Portugese with text by Elizabeth Barrett Browning), Larsen's more adventurous compositions include a cantata about Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as a multi-movement cycle entitled Mary Cassatt (1844–1926), which is performed with projections of Cassatt's paintings. She has also written over 12 operas and has a catalogue of over 400 works.

Larsen is also an advocate for women in the field of music, and was the first woman to hold a residency with a major orchestra (Minnesota Orchestra, 1983-1986). She is also a great advocate for music education. In her search to bring new music out of academia, she co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum in 1973 (now called the American Composers Forum). Her prominence in the 1980s and 1990s earned her a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship as well as a Grammy Award (1994).

--Christie Finn

Songs & Song Collections BY Larsen (entered to date)

Audio PLaylist


CD / DVD / MP3