Slang (1993) — Libby Larsen

"Slang is a one-movement work in three sections. Its title refers to the use of both jazz and boogie slang and twentieth-century 'new music' slang throughout the composition. I got the idea for Slang while I was working on a ballet for the Ohio Ballet. I was thinking about our American culture with its vast array of musical languages. I'm fascinated by the idea that just as we have developed slang in our speaking language, we have also developed a lexicon of musical slang. This composition explores the idea, asking the performers to freely change performance styles as the musical language dictates."
  —  Libby Larsen

The world premiere of Slang was on November 6, 1994 in the Adaskin Series, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.



Libby Larsen (born 1950, Wilmington, Delaware) attended the University of Minnesota where she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in theory and composition, a Masters of Arts degree in composition, and a theory and composition. She studied composition with Dominick Argento, Paul Fetler, and Eric Stokes.

Larson is one of America's most prolific and most performed living composers. She has created a catalog of over five hundred works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over fifteen operas. She is constantly sought after for commissions and premiers by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world and has established a permanent place for her music in the concert repertory. Her works are widely written about, and over fifty CDs of her music have been produced by Angel/EMI, Koch International, Nonesuch, and Decca among others.

Larsen has received numerous honors including a 1994 Grammy as producer of the CD, The Art of Arleen Auger, on which her Sonnets from the Portuguese is featured. In 2014, she was presented the American Guild of Organists Distinguished Composer Award. Johns Hopkins University awarded her the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America in 2010, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented her with a the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

As a vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 she co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum, which has been an invaluable aid for composers in a difficult, transitional time for American arts.

Larsen was the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra, and she has held residencies with the California Institute of the Arts, Arnold Schoenberg Institute, Philadelphia School of the Arts, Cincinnati Conservatory, Minnesota Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony and Colorado Symphony. A former holder of the Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education and Technology at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen serves as an advisor to many national musical organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, and the American Symphony Orchestra League.

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