Larry Carrol Pruden (1925-1982) was born and raised in New Plymouth, New Zealand. He began learning the piano at about age 8, became a church organist at 13, and joined the music staff of New Plymouth Boys? High School in 1940 as a piano teacher.

His first known musical composition dates from 1938; at this stage his musical mentor was his uncle, the well-known blind organist and composer Joseph Papesch. Apart from contact with Douglas Lilburn at Cambridge Music Schools from 1947, he was self-taught in composition until granted a bursary for study in England.

In London from 1951-54, he attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studied composition, conducting and percussion. In 1952 he joined Benjamin Frankelís composition class along with the New Zealand composers David Farquhar, Edwin Carr and Robert Burch. Whilst there, he also met and married his wife Penny.

Returning to New Zealand in 1955, he settled in Wellington and was employed in various capacities by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation until 1975, when he moved to Dunedin to take up the position of Mozart Fellow at Otago University. Throughout this time he was also involved in tutoring composition at summer music schools, conducting, writing programme notes and introducing radio programmes. From 1977 until his death he freelanced as a composer and conductor in Wellington.