Karl Larson & Liz Pearse: Messiaen’s “Harawi” – Tickets – Constellation – Chicago, IL – February 22nd, 2015
Karl Larson & Liz Pearse: Messiaen’s “Harawi”

Frequency Series Presents

Karl Larson & Liz Pearse: Messiaen’s “Harawi”

Sun, February 22, 2015

8:30 pm


Chicago, IL

$5.00 - $10.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is 18 and over

Karl Larson & Liz Pearse: Messiaen’s “Harawi”
Karl Larson & Liz Pearse: Messiaen’s “Harawi”
Composed in 1945, Olivier Messiaen's Harawi is a twelve-­song cycle based around the themes of love and death (l'amour and la mort). Demanding the height of virtuosity from both singer and pianist, the cycle is representative of Messiaen's style during the 1940s.

Standing alongside such works as the Quatuor pour la fin du temps, Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jésus, and Turangalîla Symphony, Harawi's lush, vibrant musical language is reminiscent of Debussy, Stravinsky, and Wagner, all the while remaining unique and unmistakably Messiaen. The cycle features Messiaen's own symbolist text in which he assembles a surreal mosaic of Andean mythology, cosmic mystery, birdsong, and onomatopoetic sounds. The song cycle was genre of personal significance to Messiaen.

Harawi was preceded by Poèmes pour Mi (1936) and Chants de terre et de ciel (1938), both of which were dedicated to Messiaen's first wife, Claire Delbos. Messiaen composed Harawi as Delbos's mental health deteriorated. Her illness required institutionalized care, and she died in a sanitarium in 1959. Scholars have often speculated that Messiaen's decision to write a song cycle based around the concepts of love and death as Delbos health declined is representative of his grief over the loss of his wife.


Brooklyn based pianist KARL LARSON is a specialist in the music of our time, consistently presenting adventurous programs. Karl has premiered many solo piano and chamber pieces, including substantial works by David Rakowski, Ken Thomson, Robert Honstein, Chris Cerrone, and Ravi Kittappa. He is also well versed in the modern canon, having presented concerts featuring the music of Olivier Messiaen, Morton Feldman, Pierre Boulez, and György Ligeti. 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. He has also collaborated with members of the Bang On a Can All­Stars, Ensemble Signal, Eighth Blackbird, the California E.A.R. Unit, Ensemble Dal Niente, and the Mivos Quartet. He has been featured on the Bang on a Can Marathon, the MATA Festival, WQXR’s Hammered!, the Vanguard Series, the Columbus­NYC New Music Exchange, the Contagious Sounds Series, the Frequency Series, Make Music New York, the Red Note New Music Festival, the Ball State New Music Festival, the Music in the Shape of a Pear Festival, and the Bowling Green State University New Music Festival.

Along with composer Ravi Kittappa, Larson curates Permutations, a New York City based monthly event featuring new music and art of all styles and genres. The series was created for young professional musicians and artists as a method of raising funds for progressive projects. Past events have featured the Color Field Ensemble, the Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Phonema Consort, TAK, Alejandro Acierto, and Eric Carlson.

Larson is also a founding member of Bearthoven, a piano, bass, and percussion trio dedicated to the frequent promotion and performance of brand new works. Since the groups formation in 2013, Bearthoven has already commissioned over 15 pieces and has enjoyed a busy and successful performance schedule.

Karl received a DMA in Contemporary Music and an MM in Piano Performance at Bowling Green State University, where he studied with Dr. Laura Melton. Larson completed his undergraduate degree at Luther College as a pupil of Dr. John Strauss. He is on faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Recordings and further information can be found at karllarsonpiano.com.


Finding joy in variety, LIZ PEARSE is a musician of many pursuits. After a childhood spent playing any instrument she could lay hands upon, Liz began exploring the endless possibilities of the voice. Hers is an instrument possessing an unusual range, color, and versatility, which has led to performances of music ­ medieval to modern ­ on opera, orchestra, chamber, and recital stages around the world.

Liz recently had the privilege of performing at the Lucerne Festival, singing Luciano Berio's massive Coro under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. 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.

Other chamber and solo engagements have included the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium; (le) poisson rouge; Omaha Under the Radar; Kerrytown Concert House; Baldwin Wallace University; and Constellation Chicago. Her opera credits include Michigan Opera Theatre, Toledo Opera, and Opera in the Ozarks, in addition to many performances with Indiana University and Bowling Green State University Opera Theatre.

Liz has spent this fall season performing around the Midwest. After solo and chamber performances at the 2014 BGSU New Music Festival, Liz toured with critically ­acclaimed Quince Ensemble in rare trio performances of Morton Feldman's Three Voices at UW­Milwaukee's Unruly Festival and Kent State's Vanguard New Music Series. Liz performs regularly with Quince, whose debut album Realign the Time was released in September 2014.

As a doctoral student of Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Liz researches the prevalence and incorporation of contemporary repertoire in the collegiate voice studio. Doctoral recitals included Messiaen's Harawi and an electroacoustic program, among a diverse range of art song and chamber programs.

She also won both the Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition and the BGSU Competitions in Music concerto competition while at BG, and her mentor at BGSU is Dr. Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers. Prior to her doctoral work, Liz studied with Patricia Stiles at Indiana University. Recordings and more information about Liz can be found at lizpearse.com.

Venue Information:
3111 N. Western
Chicago, IL, 60618