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Lara Downes speaks with NetNebraska, for lenny

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Interview with NetNebraska's Gen Randall

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 includes a diverse group of guest artists: opera legend Thomas Hampson, roots singer Rhiannon Giddens, superstar beatboxer Kevin "K.O." Olusola (a member of the chart-topping a cappella group Pentatonix), and Mexican/American clarinet prodigy Javier Morales-Martinez.

Downes says: "Leonard Bernstein reminds me of what a musician can be. Of what music can do in this world – how it can reach and teach and make things happen. Just imagine what American music was before Lenny came along, everything he changed. I'm only here at all, I think, because of the rules he broke and the doors he knocked down. Imagine the thousands of other musicians who feel the same way."

LD sat down with NetNebraska's Gen Randall to discuss the recording. Listen to the attached inteview