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Lara Downes fills out 'Anniversaries,' for lenny / Cultural Attache

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"This sounds naive and dumb," says pianist Lara Downes about Leonard Bernstein's 100th anniversary, "but I don't even know that was part of my process. What I wanted to do originally is I love his Anniversaries for Piano. I'd been wanting to do a recording project that would pull them all together, but there weren't enough to make a full CD. I was in bed with the flu and I had this idea to commission new pieces to fill out the cycle and give people a chance to respond to this milestone."

And with that concept born out of illness, Lara Downes started phase 2 of her new recording entitled For Lenny. The third phase involved getting artists like opera singer Thomas Hampson, American roots artist Rhiannon Giddens and beatboxer Kevin "K.O." Olusola to join in unique interpretations of Bernstein's songs.

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