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Lara Downes

About this Artist

Pianist, cultural catalyst, and New York Times Sunday Crossword clue Lara Downes has been called “a musical ray of hope” by NBC News and “an explorer whose imagination is fired by bringing notice to the underrepresented and forgotten” (The Log Journal). An iconoclast and trailblazer, Downes is known for her dynamic work as a sought-after soloist, a Billboard chart-topping recording artist, a producer, curator, arts activist, and advocate that has positioned her as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene. She was honored as 2022 Classical Woman of the Year by Performance Today

Downes’ recent and upcoming onstage adventures include guest appearances with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, with recitals and residencies at Ravinia, the Gilmore Festival, Washington Performing Arts, Caramoor, and the Cabrillo Festival, among many others. Her creative collaborations with diverse artists, including Rhiannon Giddens, Thomas Hampson, Judy Collins, Daniel Hope, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Miró Quartet, explore shared creative perspectives across genres and traditions. Downes’ forays into the broad landscape of music have created a unique series of acclaimed recordings, including her most recent release Love at Last on the Pentatone label, which debuted at the top of the Billboard and Amazon charts and was featured in her NPR Tiny Desk concert. Downes’ transformative album America Again was 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.

Downes is a highly visible media presence in her role as the creator and host of AMPLIFY with Lara Downes—an NPR Music video series soon launching its third season in partnership with Classical California. She is the creator and curator of Rising Sun Music, a label dedicated to making first recordings of music by Black composers from the 18th century to the present day.