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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 Memory Mist  
2 Albatross - Lara Downes ft. Judy Collins  
3 A Tide of Living Water  
4 Dream Variation - Lara Downes ft. Rhiannon Giddens  
5 Ellis Island - Lara Downes ft. Simone Dinnerstein  
6 Don't Explain - Lara Downes ft. Leyla McCalla  
7 Willow Weep for Me  
8 Venus Refraction  
9 Morning on the Limpopo; Matlou Women from Limpopo Songs  
10 Farther from the Heart - Lara Downes ft. Hila Plitmann  
11 Favorite Colour  
12 Notes of Gratitude  
13 Arrorro Mi Nina - Lara Downes ft. Magos Herrera  
14 Music Pink and Blue  
15 Idyll  
16 Blue Piece - Lara Downes ft. Rachel Barton Pine  
17 Bloom  
18 Just for a Thrill - Lara Downes ft. Alicia Hall Moran  
19 Aghavni (Doves)  
20 What Lips My Lips Have Kissed  
21 Rainbow  
22 All the Pretty Little Horses - Lara Downes ft. Ifetayo Ali-Landing & Musicality  
Rhiannon Giddens, Lara Downes - Dream Variation
Lara Downes, Simone Dinnerstein - Ellis Island
Music To Be Thankful For: Lara Downes

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.