Composer meets with music students

By Jordan Radloff

American composer, Libby Larsen, is on campus this week for the NIU New Music Festival. Between Tuesday and Friday, a series of 5 concerts will be held in the NIU Music Building showcasing the works of different musical composers.

On Monday, Larsen came to meet with some of the students in the music composition program during a seminar. The students were each given the opportunity to share one of their current projects with the famous composer to get feedback on their work.

The constructive comments that Larsen provided for the students were explaining how young composers can work on improving their writing technique and bad habits. She challenged the students to think about how they can create contrast in their music through the altercation of rhythms and stylistic motifs.

Larsen warned about being mindful of how music written in a computer program will be translated to a physical instrument in real life. Sometimes certain notes may sound good to the composer they but might be impossible for a performer to actually play.

Larsen also talked about how the setting of a performance can dramatically change the ideas of a piece of music and how sound travels depending on if it is taking place in a large concert hall or a small recital room.

Musical works by Libby Larsen will be performed by the NIU Wind Symphony on Tuesday in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall at 8 p.m.

Larsen, born 1950 in Delaware, has over 500 published musical works in her long career as a composer, according to her music website. She is a co-founder of the Minnesota Composers Forum, and is also a member of the American Composers Forum. Having spent much of her life in Minnesota, she has written many pieces inspired by the nature around her. She also has many more diverse compositions with different inspirations.

More information about Libby Larsen and her compositions can be found at