World premiere of celebrated composer to be held at Linfield College

Libby Larsen

Linfield Chamber Orchestra will feature the world premiere of “Moabit Sonnets,” written by one of the world’s most performed living composers, Libby Larsen.

A composer-in-residence at Linfield College in 1990, the Grammy Award–winning musician has since composed more than 400 works spanning virtually every genre.

As part of a week-long residency, Larsen will be in attendance at concerts on Friday, April 15, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 16, at 3 p.m. in Ice Auditorium at Linfield College. She will present a pre-concert lecture an hour before each concert.

Larsen will also join a panel discussion about classical music in the 21st century on Tuesday, April 12, at 4 p.m. Guests will include David Stabler, Oregonian music critic; Robert McBride, senior announcer for KQAC All Classical radio; Ron Blessinger, violinist and artistic director of Third Angle; Huw Edwards, music director and conductor of Portland’s Columbia Symphony Orchestra; and Gilbert Seeley, artistic director and conductor of Oregon Repertory Singers.


Commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Linfield Chamber Orchestra, “Moabit Sonnets” is adapted from poems written from prison by Albrecht Haushofer, a German Resistance activist during World War II. The composition combines Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique with Medieval-era church modes, and features baritone Matthew Hayward, who portrays Haushofer in his prison cell, tenor and 2009 Linfield College graduate Sam Dinsmore, and sopranos Kayla Wilkins and Chelsea Janzen, both juniors at Linfield.


Larsen’s numerous works range from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and operas. The composer is sought for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles and orchestras around the world, and more than 50 CDs of her work have been recorded. Larsen is a founding member of the American Composers Forum and has received one of two 2010 George Peabody Medals for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America.

Newspapers worldwide have praised Larsen for her ability to make contemporary music relevant and accessible. She is “the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively,” wrote USA Today.


The concert will also feature selections from Mozart, Brahms and Edward Elgar.

Concerts will be in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall on the Linfield College campus, 900 SE Baker Street in McMinnville. Single reserved tickets are $30. General admission is $22 and $5 for students K-12.

The April 12 panel discussion will be in Ice Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Additional public events that week include a free performance of vocal and piano works by Larsen, featuring guest musicians and scheduled for April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Ice Auditorium. A free student recital of Larsen works is April 14 at 4 p.m. in the Delkin Recital Hall in the Vivian Bull Music Center on campus.

For more information visit Linfield Chamber Orchestra or contact the orchestra at (503) 833-2637 or


Photo credit: Ann Marsden