Sharing the passing of an emeritus piano faculty member

Dear UNCSA Community,

I am saddened to let you know that School of Music Emeritus Professor Eric Larsen, an extraordinarily talented pianist and educator, passed away yesterday.

In nearly four decades of service to UNCSA, where he served from 1979 until his retirement in 2017, Eric made an indelible mark, leaving a legacy of excellence of artistry and pedagogy. He also created UNCSA’s popular annual event the Mozart Birthday Concert and served as its artistic director. After retiring from UNCSA, Eric continued to be involved with the UNCSA Chamber Music Festival. 

I feel so fortunate that I got to work with Eric for at least one year during my first at the school. What an amazing teacher, mentor, artist and friend. 

During the summers, Eric led the renowned Meadowmount School of Music, providing an important industry connection for UNCSA and an effective pipeline for talented students of many disciplines.

School of Music Emeritus Professor Eric Larsen

School of Music Emeritus Professor Eric Larsen

Eric also leaves a legacy of distinguished alumni throughout the music world. His students have won prizes in major international piano competitions including the Casagrande, Busoni, International Bach, Josef Hofman and UNISA Pretoria competitions.

School of Music Associate Professor of Piano Dmitri Vorobiev told me: "Eric Larsen has been a monumental figure in his students' lives. His studio was like a family and we didn't just learn to be better pianists and musicians; we learned how to be better human beings. His wisdom, kindness, care and incredible artistry will forever be in our hearts as it will never be surpassed." 

Dmitri was named the Eric Larsen Distinguished Professor of Piano in 2019.

UNCSA alumna Lisa Leonard, a member of the Conservatory of Music faculty at Lynn University in Florida, wrote: "What I have accomplished and have been able to give back to this world is because Eric Larsen came into my life at the most important time. He not only taught me to love my gift; he taught me how to work passionately and consistently."

Eric Larsen was heard in the major concert halls of Russia, Europe, South America, Asia and the United States. He was a member of both the Meadowmount Trio and the American Chamber Trio. His musical collaborators included Joseph Silverstein; Joshua Bell; Patricia McCarty; Lynn Harrell; Carol Wincenc; Ransom Wilson; James Ehnes; Robert deMaine; and the Mendelssohn, Alexander and Wihan string quartets. His live performances were broadcast on NPR, WQXR, WFMT, Moscow State Radio and Colombian National Television.

Eric recorded in Moscow for both Melodiya and Russian Disk, in Prague for Equilibrium and Naxos, and in the United States for Albany and HM Productions. His discography includes the complete trios of Brahms and the complete trios and quartet of Turina, as well as trios of Beethoven, Dvořák, Ravel and Tchaikovsky. His edited editions of the three trios of Brahms for piano, violin and cello were published by the International Music Company. His edition of “Rags” by William Ryden was published by Kalmus Music.

As the recipient of major grants from the Mary Duke Biddle and Andrew Mellon foundations, he pursued extensive research in the Edvard Grieg Manuscript Collection at Norway’s Bergen Bibliotek. 

In 1991 he was asked to create a piano program at the Meadowmount School of Music; in 2009 he was appointed director of the legendary institution, from which he retired in 2021. He frequently gave solo and chamber music master classes internationally.

In the coming days, there will be a small funeral service for family and friends, who are planning a memorial service and celebration of his life at a later date.


Brian Cole 

February 14, 2024