Real Leaders with Roshini: Grammy-winning composer Libby Larsen shares why she sometimes asks "What Would Spock Do?"

Real Leaders with Roshini
June 06, 2019 - 5:35 pm

In Episode #16 of Real Leaders with Roshini, Minnesota-based musical artist Libby Larsen gets real about life after more than 500 compositions, including 18 operas and more than 70 commercial recordings. The Delaware-born Grammy-winning composer says moving to Minnesota at the age of four was pivotal. Even though her parents continued to share their East Coast influences and knowing her field of music gave higher reverence to East Coast compositions, she found living in Minnesota the right presription for her. "It's made me free. I live here, unfettered to live with the muse of creativity," she says. 

Larsen thinks in music not words. As a child she says, "I percussed on my desk. I hummed. I whistled." She usually got in trouble for this as an elementary school student but eventually came to realize "that impulse to make a sound in response to a concept was what made me a composer." Larsen's unique brain also takes her to hardware stores wherever she travels. "I like to talk to hardware people. I love to look at nuts and bolts and fit them togetner and unfit them together," she explains.

A composer of music for numerous instruments, she admits it's a constant balancing act between serious solitude and serious collaboration. Where does the idea for anything start? "I call it a point of botheration. An energy. The point where music begins," she explains. And she says all of us may feel that point of botheration when we are about to identify an issue or even solve a problem. Her favorite problem solver is Mr Spock of Star Trek fame. She never missed an episode during college. Whenever she's puzzled with something, she asks, "What would Spock say?" Her favorite Spoke quote: "'The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few or the one.'"

Larsen's latest composition escapes words. A recent grandmother, she says she has felt love grow to another whole dimension.

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