Grammy-winning composer Libby Larsen will be on the University of Central Arkansas campus as artist in residence with the College of Fine Arts and Communication the week of March 7.    

Larsen’s appearance is part of the "Songs Across the Americas Festival: Songs of the American West" at UCA, which will run March 9-12, with pre-festival activities for guest composers March 7 and 8.    

Larsen has more than 400 works in her catalogue that cover nearly every genre of music from orchestra to opera.    

"We’re excited to have her visit," said Dr. Paul Dickinson, associate professor of music. "She’s a very well-known composer and a big advocate for the arts in general. She has written a lot of vocal music, some of which deals with western subject matter, and she will be able to talk about the time period that the music evoked.    

"She is going to be working with our student composers and will meet and coach students and faculty who will be performing her music. Also, the Conway Symphony Orchestra will be performing her work."     

Performances of Larsen’s music will be scattered throughout the four-day festival in both daytime and March 9 and 12 evening concerts, said Dr. Kay Kraeft, president of Songs Unlimited, Inc., which sponsors the Songs Across the Americas Festival.    

The CFAC residency will include an open dress rehearsal for a Faculty Chamber Concert on Wednesday, March 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the Snow Fine Arts Center Recital Hall; a lecture for students on Thursday, March 10, at 1:40 p.m., in Snow’s Bridges/Larson Theatre; an open rehearsal with the Conway Symphony Orchestra at 2:40 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, in Snow 120; the Faculty Chamber Concert (The Music of Libby Larsen) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, in the Snow Recital Hall; a composition seminar with UCA composition students at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 11, in Snow 312; and a performance of Deep Summer Music on the Conway Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Songs of the American West: Myths, Romance and Reality, on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Reynolds Performance Hall.    

All Larsen residency events listed above except for the CSO concert are free and open to the public. Those tickets range from $20-$38 and may be purchased at the UCA Box Office at www.uca.edu/tickets, or by calling (501) 450-3265.    

Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum in 1973, now known as the American Composer Forum, to aid composers in transitioning for American arts.      

"She’s tops in the U.S., and we’re thrilled to have her coming and the neat thing for the students is that she is so just down to earth and wonderful and unpretentious and an ordinary type person who can talk to young people, children and people and very much accessible to all ages," Kraeft said.     

Larsen has been hailed by USA Today as "the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively." Her opera Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus was chosen as one of the eight best classical music events of 1990 by USA Today.     

"Libby Larsen has many credits in her life, including being the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major U.S. orchestra," Kraeft said.    

For more information about the CFAC residency, contact Dickinson at 501-450-3242 or pauld@uca.edu. For more information about the Songs Across the Americas Festival, contact Kraeft at 501-327-2964, kkraeft@swbell.net or visit www.songsunlimited.org.