September 3, 2003 Composer Libby Larsen to Speak on September 17

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Libby Larsen, Harissios Papamarkou Scholar in Education and Technology at the Library of Congress, will present a lecture titled “The Concert Hall That Fell Asleep and Woke up as a Car Radio” at 6:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 17, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center and the Music Division, is free and open to the public.

In her talk, Libby Larsen, one of America’s most prolific and most performed living composers, will address ways in which transportation and technology have affected various aspects of music in the United States and abroad. Specifically, she will discuss the manner in which music has been and is taught in American schools and conservatories; the effect that westward expansion in this country and globalization abroad has had on the use and perception of music by listeners, performers and composers; the role and function of music in people’s everyday lives; as well as the future path of musical expression and its link to technology.

Larsen, the first woman to serve as resident composer with a major orchestra, has created more than 200 works spanning virtually every genre, from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral and opera scores. Her many commissions and recordings, prized for their dynamic, deeply inspired, and vigorous contemporary American spirit, are a testament to her fruitful collaborations with a long list of world-renowned artists. Barnum’s Bird,” an opera commissioned by the Library of Congress and the Odyssey Commissioning Program of the Plymouth Music Series in honor of the Library’s 200th anniversary, had its world premiere in the Coolidge Auditorium in February 2002. Larsen’s works are widely recorded on such labels as Angel/EMI, Nonesuch, Decca and Koch International Classics.

Her awards and accolades include the 2003 Eugene McDermott Award given by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the 1994 Grammy as producer of the CD, “The Art of Arleen Augér,” a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bush Foundation, and numerous honorary doctorate degrees. Her opera “Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus” was selected as one of the eight best classical music events of 1990 by USA Today.

Through a generous endowment from its namesake, the Library of Congress established the John W. Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate, energize, and distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington, D.C. The Kluge Center houses five senior Kluge Chairs (American Law and Governance, Countries and Cultures of the North, Countries and Cultures of the South, Technology and Society, and Modern Culture); other senior-level chairs (Henry A. Kissinger Chair, Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics, and the Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education and Technology); and nearly 25 post-doctoral fellows.

Larsen was named to the Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education and Technology in the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in June 2003. The holder of this chair, which was established through a generous gift from investment banker Alexander Papamarkou (deceased 1998) in honor of his grandfather, explores issues of education and technology that have an impact on the Library of Congress and the nation.

For more information about the Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education and Technology or any of the other fellowships, grants and programs offered by the John W. Kluge Center, contact the Office of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4860; telephone (202) 707-3302, fax (202) 707-3595, or visit the Web at


PR 03-150
ISSN 0731-3527