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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 Bernstein: Something's Coming - with Kevin  
2 John Corigliano: Anniversary for Lenny  
3 Stephen Schwartz: Anniversaire for Lenny  
4 Eleonor Sandresky: Romance for Lenny  
5 Michael Abels: Iconoclasm/for Lenny  
6 Bernstein: Big Stuff  
7 Bernstein: Anniversary for Johnny Mehegan  
8 Bernstein: Anniversary for Aaron Copland  
9 Bernstein: Anniversary for Stephen Sondheim  
10 Stephen Sondheim: I Remember  
11 Bernstein: Cool - with Javier Morales-Martinez  
12 Bernstein: The Story of My Life  
13 Bernstein: Greeting (from Arias and Barcarolles)  
14 Marc Blitzstein: Innocent Psalm, for the Bernstein Baby  
15 Bernstein: Anniversary for Nina  
16 Bernstein: Anniversary for Felicia on our 28th birthday & her 52nd  
17 Bernstein: So Pretty - with Rhiannon Giddens  
18 Daron Hagen: Anniversary in Memoriam  
19 Bernstein: Anniversary for Lukas Foss  
20 Lukas Foss: For Lenny, Variation on New York New York  
21 Ricky Ian Gordon: What Shall We Remember?  
22 Bernstein: A Simple Song - with Thomas Hampson  
23 Shulamit Ran: Exuberance/for Lenny  
24 Bernstein: Anniversary for Craig Urquhart  
25 Craig Urquhart: Remembering Lenny  
26 Theo Bleckmann: Goodbye Chorale/For Lenny  
27 Ned Rorem: Youth, Day, Old Age and Night  
28 Bernstein: Some Other Time  
Lara Downes and Anthony McGill on Sirius XM Symphony Hall
Lara Downes and Javier Morales-Martinez - Leonard Bernstein: Cool
'Iconoclasm for Lenny' - Michael Abels@The Greene Space at WQXR, NYC
Lara Downes and Kevin
Lara Downes - John Corigliano: Anniversary for Lenny
Lara Downes - Leonard Bernstein: Big Stuff
Lara Downes and Javier Morales-Martinez - Leonard Bernstein: Cool
Lara Downes - Leonard Bernstein: The Story Of My Life
Lara Downes and Rhiannon Giddens - Leonard Bernstein: So Pretty
Lara Downes - Lukas Foss: For Lenny, Variation on New York, New York
Lara Downes - Ricky Ian Gordon: What Shall We Remember
Lara Downes and Thomas Hampson - Leonard Bernstein: A Simple Song
Lara Downes at the 2017 Classical Recording Foundation awards
Lara Downes and Adam Gopnik, live at National Sawdust
Music To Be Thankful For: Lara Downes

Lara Downes' new album For Lenny celebrates the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein with a special friends-and-family tribute to the man behind the music. The recording features Bernstein's aptly-named Anniversaries for Piano, new arrangements of his songs, and world premieres of works dedicated to Bernstein by leading American composers including Stephen Sondheim, John Corigliano, and Stephen Schwartz. The album is introduced by an essay from acclaimed writer Adam Gopnik.

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