Composers Datebook®

Libby Larsen outdoors

Composers Datebook - July 2, 2024


Nothing is better than being outdoors on a glorious summer’s day listening to live music — at least that’s what American composer Libby Larsen thinks.

“I grew up on outdoor concerts,” she recalls. “There was a bandstand by my house in Minneapolis, and all summer long, orchestras and bands would play there. There's something special about being outside and hearing music fill the air with sound.”

On today’s date in 1983, Larsen’s own Deep Summer Music received its open-air premiere when the Minnesota Orchestra visited Terrace, a tiny rural community of some 200 people. But their concert drew an audience of 8000, luring music lovers from both Minnesota and neighboring South Dakota, who brought lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Deep Summer Music was written for the occasion, with long trumpet solos that could ring out in the open landscape.

At first, says Larsen, she worried the large, festive crowd wouldn’t pay much attention to her new piece. Instead, she recalls, “There was the most beautiful blanket of quiet … and as one trumpet solo happened, a “V” formation of geese flew over and honked, seeming to echo the music. It was a lovely and peaceful experience — and you couldn’t have cued the geese any better!”

Music Played in Today's Program

Libby Larsen (b. 1950): Deep Summer Music; Colorado Symphony; Marin Alsop, conductor; Koch 7520

On This Day


  • 1714 - German composer Christoph Willibald (Ritter von) Gluck, in Erasbach, Upper Palatinate


  • 1778 - French writer, music critic, and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 66, in Ermenonville


  • 1900 - Sibelius: tone poem Finlandia, in Helsinki, with Robert Kajanus conducting. An earlier, vocal version of this music was first performed at the Swedish Theater in Helsinki on Nov. 4, 1899

  • 1929 - Gershwin: musical Show Girl, at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. This show included the classic Gershwin song Liza.

  • 1949 - John Alden Carpenter: Symphony No. 2 (revised version), by the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia, with Fritz Busch conducting. The New York Philharmonic premiered the first version of this symphony on October 22, 1942, with Bruno Walter conducting.

  • 1983 - Libby Larsen: Deep Summer Music for orchestra, in Terrace, Minnesota, by the Minnesota Orchestra, Joseph Giunta conducting


  • 1723 - Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi agrees to write and rehearse the music for two concerts a month at the Pièta School for Orphaned Girls in Venice

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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.

About Composers Datebook®