Libby Larsen: Composing an American Life

Libby Larsen: Composing an American Life

by Denise Von Glahn


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Libby Larsen has composed award-winning music performed around the world. Her works range from chamber pieces and song cycles to operas to large-scale works for orchestra and chorus. At the same time, she has advocated for living composers and new music since cofounding the American Composers Forum in 1973. Denise Von Glahn 's in-depth examination of Larsen merges traditional biography with a daring scholarly foray: an ethnography of one active artist. Drawing on musical analysis, the composer 's personal archive, and seven years of interviews with Larsen and those in her orbit, Von Glahn illuminates the polyphony of achievements that make up Larsen 's public and private lives. In considering Larsen 's musical impact, Von Glahn delves into how elements of the personal ”a 1950s childhood, spiritual seeking, love of nature, and status as an important woman artist  ”inform her work. The result is a portrait of a musical pathfinder who continues to defy expectations and reject labels.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780252082696
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 08/15/2017
Series: Music in American Life Series
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Denise Von Glahn is the Curtis Mayes Orpheus Professor of Musicology at Florida State University where she is also the coordinator of the Musicology Area and director of the Center for Music of the Americas. She has written three previous books: The Sounds of Place: Music and the American Cultural Landscape , which won an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 2004, Leo Ornstein: Modernist Dilemmas, Personal Choices , co-authored with Michael Broyles, and which won the Irving S. Lowens Award in 2009, and Music and the Skillful Listener: American Women Compose the Natural World , which won the Pauline Alderman Award in 2015.

Table of Contents

Preface: An Inauspicious Beginning ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Prologue: A Polyphonic Life xxi

1 Libby Larsen and the Cultural Moment 1

2 Larsen and Family: Needing to Be Heard 10

3 Larsen and Religion: The Tie That Binds 33

4 Larsen and Nature: Tutoring the Soul 67

5 Larsen and the Academy Years: "My Soul Was Shaking" 99

6 Larsen and Gender: Doing the Impossible 145

7 Larsen and Technology: Challenging the Concert Hall 193

8 Larsen and the Collaborators, Larsen and the Critics 222

Conclusions: Reflections on a Life and the Process of Telling It 225

Notes 269

Bibliography 305

Index 317

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