American poet Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902.  Many of his childhood years were spent in Lawrence, Kansas with his grandmother until he moved to Cleveland, OH at age fourteen to live with his mother and stepfather.  He also lived with his father in Mexico for one year.  Hughes enrolled at Columbia University in 1922.  He left the school one year later and traveled to Africa and Europe, working his way on shipboard. A major figure of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s, Hughes entitled his first book of poems The Weary Blues, taking its name from a prize-winning poem published in the magazine Opportunity.  Hughes was awarded a scholarship to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania where he earned his BA in 1929.  He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (1935), a Rosenwald Fellowship (1049) and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Grant (1947). The poetry of Langston Hughes frequently made use of blues rhythms as well as the musical language of the American jazz idiom.  Inspired by the language, rhythm and spirit of Hughes’ poetry, composer Libby Larsen has written Sun Song in response to the major contribution that Langston Hughes made to American culture.