Larry Visser’s musical career combines a church position, performing, and composing. He has been Minister of Music and Organist at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in downtown, Grand Rapids, Michigan since 1999. In this role, he plays the organ for a majority of services, accompanies choirs, and oversees the administration of the church’s extensive music ministry. Larry has produced several recordings during his tenure at the church—two solo organ discs and three additional recordings, each dedicated to a specific season of the liturgical church year—that feature the church’s vocal and handbell choirs and instrumentalists.
Larry’s formal education took place at Calvin College (BA, 1989, Music History, Theory, and Composition) and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance (MM, 1991, Church Music and Organ; DMA, 1995, Organ Performance). Upon graduating from Calvin College, Larry was awarded the highest honor given by the Music Department, the Anna Bruinsma Award. While a student at the U of M, Larry served as a graduate student teaching assistant, took harpsichord lessons, and participated in the world’s most prestigious organ competition, the Grand Prix de Chartres in Paris and Chartres, France, at which he was awarded a finalist medal. His organ teachers were Dr. John Hamersma and Dr. James Kibbie. From 2003–2010, Larry served as an adjunct faculty member at Calvin College, teaching organ and studio classes.
Larry has been a published composer of organ and choral music since the mid 1990s. His organ music is published by Leupold Editions (a division of The Leuopold Foundation) and MorningStar Music Publishers, and his choral music is represented in the GIA Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Music Series. His anthem "Peace I Give to You" has been sung by choirs around the globe.
During a 2014 sabbatical, Larry completed a collection of 200 descants for hymns in the 2013 hymnal "Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs." Titled "Praise God in the Heights: Descants by Larry Visser," the collection was published by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. In 2019, he was the recipient of two-first prize awards in hymn tune competitions sponsored by the Eastman School of Music (the Utech Hymn Tuine Competition) and the St. Joseph's Mercy School in Navan, Ireland.
Larry holds memberships in the Grand Rapids Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Hymn Society in North America and Canada.