Composers Datebook®

Libby Larsen’s Trio

Composer's Datebook - Aug. 22, 2023


Angel Fire is a village in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, home to ski slopes and hiking trails, plus a summer mountain-bike park and zip line. And, since 1983, it’s also the home of a late summer music festival called “Music from Angel Fire.”

Early on, violinist Ida Kavafian was invited to serve as the Festival’s Artistic Director, a position she maintained through 2019.   Kavafian returned on today’s date in 2001  to perform in the premiere of a newly commissioned trio by Libby Larsen – along with cellist Peter Wiley And pianist Melvin Chen – this just one of over 45 premieres that have taken place at the Festival to date.

Libby Larsen’s Trio is a classically-proportioned work in three movements: the first movement, titled Sultry, and the third, titled Burst, are very rhythmic, fast, and hauntingly jazz-like. In between, the second movement, titled Still is quite serene, free flowing, and very quiet.

Libbuy Larsen said, “I compose music for the concert hall. I chose this type of music because I love physics. Flutes, cellos, trumpets, tubas, all of the orchestral instruments emit natural sound, and they operate on the laws of physics. I can hear those laws working in the air when those instruments play.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Libby Larsen (b. 1950) – Mvt 3 (Bursts), fr Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano (Curtis Macomber, vn; Norman Fischer, vcl; Jeanne Kierman, p.) Navona Records NV-6014

On This Day


  • 1827 - Austrian composer Josef Strauss, in Vienna; He was the son of Johann Strauss I and the younger brother of Johann Strauss, II.;

  • 1862 - French composer Claude Debussy, in St.Germain-en-Laye;

  • 1928 - German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, in Mödrath (near Cologne);


  • 1968 - Birtwistle: opera "Punch and Judy," at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland;

  • 1980 - Tippett: Triple Concerto, for violin, viola, cello and orchestra, in London by the London Symphony, Sir Colin Davis conducting;

  • 1982 - Peter Maxwell Davies: "Image, Reflection, Shadow" at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland;


  • 1741 - Handel begins work on his famous oratorio, "Messiah," which he finished scoring on September 14 (Gregorian dates: Sept. 2 to 25); The entire work was composed in a period of 24 days;

  • 2002 - An opera by the Iranian-Armenian composer Loris Cheknavariyan based on the Persian epic "Rostam and Sohrab" is staged in Teheran to mark the 1000th anniversary of the birth of poet Abol-Qasem Ferdowsi, on whose epic the opera was based; The performance, at Teheran's Milad Hall, featured 125 Austrian musicians and singers; This marked the first occasion that a Western-style opera was staged in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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About Composers Datebook®

Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.

He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.

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