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Track Listing:

Memory Mist
Albatross - Lara Downes ft. Judy Collins
A Tide of Living Water
Dream Variation - Lara Downes ft. Rhiannon Giddens
Ellis Island - Lara Downes ft. Simone Dinnerstein
Don't Explain - Lara Downes ft. Leyla McCalla
Willow Weep for Me
Venus Refraction
Morning on the Limpopo; Matlou Women from Limpopo Songs
Farther from the Heart - Lara Downes ft. Hila Plitmann
Favorite Colour
Notes of Gratitude
Arrorro Mi Nina - Lara Downes ft. Magos Herrera
Music Pink and Blue
Blue Piece - Lara Downes ft. Rachel Barton Pine
Just for a Thrill - Lara Downes ft. Alicia Hall Moran
Aghavni (Doves)
What Lips My Lips Have Kissed
All the Pretty Little Horses - Lara Downes ft. Ifetayo Ali-Landing & Musicality

Lara Downes :

Holes In the Sky

"A charming selection of pieces by some powerful composers - a celebration of otherness, as well as an act of repatriation" - Washington Post

"Smoldering ... inherently yearning ... Downes' keen music choices and her thoughtful performances evoke a brilliantly curated art exhibit." - NPR


On March 1, 2019, American pianist Lara Downes releases her new album, Holes in the Sky, on Portrait, an imprint of the Sony Music Masterworks label.

Holes in the Sky is a genre-fluid collection of music written and performed by today's leading female artists, celebrating the contributions of phenomenal women to the past, present, and future of American music.

The music of Holes in the Sky tells the story of what women and girls can contribute to the world when they are given a chance - their dreams can make holes in the sky. Lara collaborates with an extraordinary multi-generational group of female guest artists on this album, including the iconic singer / songwriter Judy Collins, boundary-breaking violinist Rachel Barton Pine, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, fast-rising cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing, and the urban youth vocal ensemble Musicality.

The album is presented in direct support of PLAN International Because I Am A Girl, bolstering the rights and empowerment of girls and young women around the globe; Women's Empowerment in Sacramento, ending homelessness one woman - and one family - at a time; the Downtown Women's Center in Los Angeles, a permanent and supportive housing and healthcare provider for women; Girls on the Run in Spokane, teaching life skills through fun, engaging lessons that celebrate the joy of movement; and the Lower East Side Girls Club, breaking the cycle of poverty by training the next generation of ethical, entrepreneurial, and environmental leaders.

Lara Downes & Friends with Special Guests

Judy Collins
Simone Dinnerstein
Leyla McCalla
Alicia Hall Moran
Ifetayo Ali-Landing
Rhiannon Giddens
Magos Herrera
Rachel Barton Pine
Hila Plitmann
The Girls of Musicality

Several album events are hosted in support of non-profit organizations that benefit women and girls, including PLAN International, Women's Empowerment, the Lower East Side Girls Club, Girls on the Run, and the Los Angeles Downtown Women's Center.


MAR 1  |  Spokane Symphony (CD signing)
MAR 2  |  Patsy Clark Mansion, Spokane (launch concert, benefit for Girls on the Run)
MAR 3  |  Produced By Bear, Los Angeles (launch concert with Hila Plitmann, benefit for the Downtown Women's Center)
MAR 13  |  Guild Theater, Sacramento (launch concert, benefit for Women's Empowerment)
MAR 19  |  Lower Eastside Girls Club (launch concert with special guests Sophia Bacelar, Leah Crocetto, and Marika Takeuchi; hosted by Clemency Burton-Hill of WQXR)
MAR 25  | Yoshi's Jazz Club, Oakland (with Judy Collins)
APR 7  |  Breman Museum, Atlanta (NPR From the Top guest host appearance, CD signing)
APR 16  | Ideastream, Cleveland (live in-studio performance)
APR 18  |  Tuesday Musical Club, Akron
MAY 24 & 25  |  Boston Pops Orchestra, Boston (with Rhiannon Giddens)


Reflections on Holes in the Sky from Lara Downes (excerpt from album booklet, complete text available via Dropbox)

"Sometimes interviewers ask me about being a woman in music - where I find inspiration, and where I face challenges. And my answer, always, is that I'm guided and inspired by the women before me – the ones who were ahead of their time in the courage of their creativity, who paved the way for me to take my own musical journey ...

A few years ago, this quote from Georgia O'Keeffe got stuck in my head and my heart: "I want real things - live people to take hold of - to see - and talk to - music that makes holes in the sky - I want to love as hard as I can."

The world of women has always been my home. But the world of my music, of my piano teachers and the Great Pianists and Great Composers, with their stern, bearded portraits, their hundreds of sonatas and etudes that took up the hours of my days – that was a world of men and I felt not quite at home.

I went looking for the women ... I discovered the women who lived in the margins and footnotes of my music history books. They were so few, in comparison ... To rise up from the weight of petticoats and ladylike behavior, tyrannical fathers, overshadowing husbands, unchecked offspring – they were heroic, these women. They were giants ...

When I make music with other women, I feel a kinship, a common history that brought us here. We have freedoms beyond any of our ancestors – even the mothers who raised us. We have very little, in the scope of things, to hold us down. But still, I think, we feel the weight of the past. Still we rise ...

It feels like such a privilege to pay tribute to the women who preceded us, the pioneers ahead of their time. The ones who dared to want real things, to reach into the sky. Their courage is the ground we walk on. And it feels like a celebration of our own freedom - hard won, still gaining - to make beauty in the world, to take risks and move out ahead of our own time, with the courage that is our legacy - the courage to reach for real things, to dream as big as we can, and to share this music that makes holes in the sky."

Lara Downes is among the foremost American pianists of her generation, an iconoclast dedicated to expanding the resonance and relevance of live music for diverse audiences.A trailblazer on and off-stage, she follows a musical roadmap that seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family, and collective memory.

Downes' playing has been called "ravishing" by Fanfare Magazine, "luscious, moody and dreamy" by The New York Times, and "addicting" by The Huffington Post. As a chart-topping recording artist, a powerfully charismatic performer, a curator and taste-maker, Downes is recognized as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene.

Lara's forays into the broad landscape of American music have created a series of acclaimed recordings, including America Again, selected by NPR as one of "10 Albums that Saved 2016", and hailed as "a balm for a country riven by disunion" by the Boston Globe. Her recent Sony Classical debut release For Lenny debuted in the Billboard Top 20 and was awarded the 2017 Classical Recording Foundation Award.