Luther to host soprano Liz Pearse and pianist Karl Larson Feb. 12

Guest recitalists Liz Pearse and Karl Larson will present a voice and piano concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Noble Recital Hall of the Jenson-Noble Hall of Music on the Luther campus.

The concert is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Pearse and Larson will perform Olivier Messiaen's "Harawi," a 12-song cycle based around themes of love and death. The lush, vibrant musical language of "Harawi" is reminiscent of Debussy, Stravinsky and Wagner, all the while remaining unique and unmistakably Messiaen.

"Harawi" was a composition of personal significance to Messiaen. He composed "Harawi" as the mental health of his wife declined, leading to her eventual death in a sanitarium. Scholars have often speculated that Messiaen's decision to write a song cycle based around the concepts of love and death were representative of his grief over the loss of his wife.

Brooklyn-based pianist Larson is a specialist in contemporary music, consistently presenting adventurous programs. He is also well versed in the modern canon. Recent performances of note include Morton Feldman's "Triadic Memories," John Cage's "HPSCHD" and Tristan Perich's "Dual Synthesis for harpsichord and one­bit electronics."

A sought after collaborator, Larson has worked with many notable musicians from around the country, including Tristan Perich, Mantra, Eve Beglarian, the Eco Ensemble, the Sleeping Giant Composer Collective and the W4 Composer Collective.

Larson earned a bachelor's degree in music from Luther College and a master's degree in piano performance and a doctoral degree in contemporary music at Bowling Green State University. He is a member of the faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.

Finding joy in variety, Pearse is a musician of many pursuits. After a childhood spent playing a variety of instruments, she began exploring the possibilities of voice. Hers is an instrument possessing an unusual range, color and versatility, which has led to performances on opera, orchestra, chamber and recital stages around the world.

Pearse recently had the privilege of performing at the Lucerne Festival, singing Luciano Berio's "Coro." She has also performed at the soundSCAPE Festival in Italy, where in 2013 she shared the distinction of "Outstanding Performer" with her brother, conductor and percussionist John J. Pearse.

As a doctoral student of contemporary music at Bowling Green State University, Pearse researches the prevalence and incorporation of contemporary repertoire in the collegiate voice studio. Her doctoral recitals have included Messiaen's "Harawi" and an electroacoustic program, among a diverse range of art song and chamber programs.

Liz Pearse
Karl Larson