Libby Larsen on the orchestras

Acclaimed Minnesota composer Libby Larsen spoke to the Westminster Town Hall Forum Thursday.

20130221_libby-larsen_39.jpgThe Grammy Award-winner’s topic was “What You Hear is What You Get: A Composer on Composing.” As you might expect her address was both informative and energetic.

And as you might also expect, when she took questions from the audience at the end she received several queries about her thoughts, as a composer, on the current labor conflicts at the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

This is what she said:

Because I am not an orchestral musician, nor am I an administrator, I can watch and consider the situation from a little different perspective, though I am a performing musician and I sat on the Orchestra League Board of Directors for a number of terms, and also the Minnesota Orchestra Board of Directors for a number of terms.

So I think I see the 100 year situation that is currently afoot here in the Twin Cities. And it’s a tragedy, because no music is being made. And to not hear the music and to only hear about the current business situation of the music is really a tragedy.

Now, will it be solved? Yes, it will be solved one way or another. Are there sides? In my opinion there are no sides. It’s a huge situation that has gotten out of control. Not with this orchestra, with ALL orchestras in the country. And it needs to find its new footing – whatever that is. And Minnesota is the place where I think we are going to find out. We are after all pioneers. We love great ideas. We love to see how things play out. After all we did elect Jesse Ventura!

So I have high hopes that however the situation plays out, it will be played out in the Scandinavian collective way we do things here in Minnesota. And if it plays out well, which will probably be long term, then we can be a very strong model for really what is about a 100 year problem. Which I’d be happy to lecture on, but probably not today.

You can hear Larsen’s entire address on MPR News Presents at noon today and will be posted later on the program’s web page.

Here is an example of Larsen’s work sung by the San Francisco Girls Chorus:

(Submitted photo of Libby Larsen)