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Lara Downes: Bio

American pianist Lara Downes is known for her eclectic presentations of the piano repertoire – from iconic favorites to newly-commissioned works – her performances bridge musical genres and traditions, and engage a wide range of audiences with what San Francisco Classical Voice has called "an elegant example of how accessibility and a breezy relevance can exist, organically, in a classical music concert."

Lara Downes' training under Hans Graf and Rudolf Buchbinder led to early debuts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall London, the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Salle Gaveau Paris. She has since won over audiences at diverse venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to Le Poisson Rouge and Classical Revolution. Recent performances include Bargemusic, San Francisco Performances, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Portland Piano International and the University of Washington World Series, among many others. Downes' musical collaborations include partnerships with artists including cellist Zuill Bailey, the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, the Musical Art Quintet, and composers Mohammed Fairouz, David Sanford, Daniel Felsenfeld and Daniel Bernard Roumain. Her original solo performance projects have received support from prominent organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the Center for Cultural Innovation and American Public Media.

Lara Downes' solo recordings have met tremendous critical and popular acclaim. Exiles' Café (Steinway & Sons, 2013) topped the bestseller charts and was called "ravishing" by Fanfare magazine. Some Other Time (Steinway & Sons, 2014), a duo recording with cellist Zuill Bailey, debuted in the Billboard Top 10 and was called "luscious, moody and dreamy" by the The New York Times. Her recent chart-topping release, A Billie Holiday Songbook, has been embraced by both jazz and classical critics and listeners, called "possibly the most intriguing Holiday tribute" of this centenary year by Jazz Weekly.

Downes' live performances and recordings are heard regularly on national radio programs with features including NPR Music, Marketplace, Performance Today, Sirius XM Symphony Hall, WNYC's New Sounds, and WFMT's Impromptu. She is the producer and host of The Green Room, a radio show about the lives of classical musicians, distributed nationally by the WFMT Network. Her writing has been published in Listen Magazine, The Rumpus, Arts Journal and San Francisco Classical Voice. She is the founder and director of The Artist Sessions, a pop-up concert series featuring international soloists and ensembles at the forward edges of classical music. Lara Downes serves as Artist in Residence at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis where she mentors the next generation of young musicians as Director of the Mondavi Center National Young Artists Program. She is the Founder and President of the 88 KEYS Foundation, supporting arts education experiences in California public schools through instrument donations and teaching artist presentations. She is a Steinway Concert and Recording Artist.

1 Morton Gould: American Caprice  
2 Lou Harrison: New York Waltzes  
3 Traditional: Shenandoah  
4 Amy Beach: From Blackbird Hills  
5 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Deep River  
6 Dan Visconti: Lonesome Roads  
7 Ernest Bloch: At Sea  
8 George Gershwin: I Loves you Porgy  
9 Angelica Negron: Sueno Recurrente  
10 Leonard Bernstein: Anniversary for Stephen Sondheim  
11 David Sanford: Promise  
12 Howard Hanson: Slumber Song  
13 Scott Joplin: Gladiolus Rag  
14 Irving Berlin: Blue Skies  
15 Florence Price: Fantasie Negre  
16 Aaron Copland: Sentimental Melody  
17 Duke Ellington: Melancholia  
18 Roy Harris: Li'l Boy Named David  
19 George Walker: Variations on a Kentucky Folk Song  
20 Harold Arlen: Over the Rainbow  
Lara Downes: America Again - Trailer
Lara Downes live at Le Poisson Rouge: Leonard Bernstein
Le Poisson Rouge, in conversation with Skip Dillard, WBLS 107.5 FM
2017 UC Davis Innovator of the Year - Lara Downes
Music To Be Thankful For: Lara Downes

Pianist Lara Downes releases a solo album, America Again, worldwide on Sono Luminus on October 28, 2016. The album's title is taken from Langston Hughes' poem, Let America Be America Again, written in 1938. America Again features twenty pieces selected by Downes that explore the elusive but essential American dream, written by composers including Duke Ellington, Lou Harrison, Morton Gould, Amy Beach, George Gershwin, Angélica Negrón, Dan Visconti, Leonard Bernstein, Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, Florence Price, Aaron Copland, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and more.

26 NEW  67 TOTAL
NPR/First Listen, Classical 24, CBC
Direct: SiriusXM, MOOD, AccuRadio
Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Denver, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Austin, Hartford, KS(Network), IN(Network), IA(Network), Canada 
Online: The Rehearsal Studio, Second Inversion, Passion Musique et Culture, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, therumpus, Sacramento Bee