Short Story (~150 words, updated April 2020)
Finding joy in variety, Liz Pearse is a musician of many pursuits. Liz spent her childhood singing and playing any instrument she could find. After a brief stint as a clarinetist, Liz discovered the playground that is the human voice, and has been exploring ever since. Her uniquely colorful and versatile voice has led to performances of wide-ranging works from medieval to modern, and though Liz is known as a specialist in contemporary vocal repertoire, she enjoys a well-aged song.
Liz often performs self-accompanied at the piano, but she has a voracious appetite for the camaraderie of chamber music. She is one-fourth of Quince Ensemble, a treble quartet dedicated to the creation and performance of contemporary vocal literature. Their fourth album, David Lang’s love fail, is released on Innova Records in April 2020. Liz also performs with Damselfly Trio, a flute/harp/voice ensemble whose mission includes growing the body of repertoire for their unusual instrumentation. More information about Liz can be found at lizpearse.com
Finding joy in variety, Liz Pearse is a musician of many pursuits. Liz spent her childhood singing and playing any instrument she could lay hands upon. After a brief stint as a clarinetist, Liz discovered the playground that is the human voice, and has been exploring ever since. As a performer, her uniquely colorful and versatile voice has led to performances of wide-ranging works from medieval to modern, and though Liz is known as a specialist in contemporary vocal repertoire, she also deeply enjoys a well-aged song. Liz has recently begun a long-term project commissioning and performing works for singer at the piano, and presented her second full-length program of such pieces, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poulenc’s La bestiaire featuring newly-commissioned animal portraits, on tour in 2019.
Liz has a special affinity for music post-1900. As a soloist, her performances have included multiple performances of Pierrot lunaire, touring Olivier Messiaen’s Harawi, electroacoustic programming including Philomel, and on-going commissions creating works for self-accompanying soprano. Future song programs include Harawi with pianist Deanne Mohr, Messiaen and Saariaho with pianist Andrés Carrizo, and Babbitt with pianist Augustus Arnone.
In addition to her duo collaborations, Liz enjoys the opportunities for friendship and music-making afforded by chamber musicianship. She is one-quarter of Quince Ensemble, a treble quartet dedicated to the creation and performance of contemporary vocal literature. With Quince, Liz has performed on tours of David Lang’s love fail (including the work’s Polish premiere), Morton Feldman’s Three Voices, and on numerous collegiate residencies and festivals from coast to coast. Quince’s third album, Motherland, was released to critical acclaim by New Focus Records in April 2018, and they release their 4th studio recording, love fail, with Innova Records in April 2020. Liz is also a founding member of Damselfly Trio, a flute/harp/voice ensemble whose mission involves commissioning and performance of new works for the uncommon set of instruments. Together, Damselfly has toured Switzerland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and North Carolina presenting newly minted music alongside seasoned works by Ursula Mamlok and George Crumb.
In previous seasons, Liz has had the privilege of performing at the Lucerne Festival, singing Berio's Coro under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. She also performed at 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 Lyric Opera Kansas City, 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 is a prior District winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, has placed in the Nicholas Loren vocal competition, and she won both the Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition and the Competitions in Music Concerto contest while at BGSU.
Liz received her Doctorate in Contemporary Music from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. There, her studies included research in the prevalence and incorporation of contemporary repertoire in the collegiate voice studio, and her dissertation “BECAUSE THERE IS NO BASIS FOR COMPARISON”: THE SELF-ACCOMPANYING SINGER AND ROGER REYNOLDS’ SKETCHBOOK FOR THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING was defended in October 2018. Liz's doctoral recitals included Messiaen's Harawi and an electroacoustic program, among a diverse range of art song and chamber music performances, and her mentor there was Dr. Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers. Prior to her doctoral work, Liz studied with Patricia Stiles at Indiana University.
More information about Liz can be found at lizpearse.com.
Liz maintains a private studio based in Minnesota. Please contact her for information regarding lessons!
Liz currently teaches applied voice applied voice at Winona State University, and applied voice and chamber music at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She has previously taught Vocal Pedagogy and applied voice at UW-Eau Claire, Vocal Repertoire and Singers' Diction at Bowling Green State University, and Group Voice at Owens Community College, in addition to studio teaching in person and via Skype/Zoom.
Her research focus in contemporary music focuses on pedagogy for contemporary singing - both within and outside of the Western Art music realm.
Performing Berio's Folk Songs at Omaha Under the Radar - Photo by Aleks Karjaka of Karjaka Studios, 2015