“What a blast this concert was— thank you Lara, for your excellent blend of sharing the music and the stories around and inside the music... Look forward to the next installment. Kudos!”
— Audience response

Lara reinvents the traditional piano recital with On the Bench: conversational concerts with an accessible, fresh, and informed approach to engage both newcomers and music aficionados. Her thoughtful anecdotes draw historical and interpretive context around some of classical music’s most beloved works, bringing the music to life with timeless relevance, informal humor and a uniquely personal touch.
Each program lasts just over an hour, with an even flow of music, narrative, and Q & A. Multimedia options are also available.
The young and young at heart are welcome to attend; the format is most engaging for children over age 6.

Available programs


"I was riveted. Despite being utterly exhausted that evening, I didn't miss a single moment or feel my attention drift. On the contrary, I was moved to tears twice, and left feeling refreshed and uplifted. You have such a gift for storytelling, and for connecting to audience in words and through the piano. Thank you."

"What a blast this concert was-- thank you Lara, for your excellent blend of sharing the music and the stories around and inside the music.  So inviting--- a riveting glimpse into the lives of these three amazing, timeless musician-composers.  Look forward to the next installment.  Kudos!"

"I'm still warmed, on this cold, cold day, by the memory of your beautiful, stirring concert. You made the music even richer and more heartfelt with the tender stories before each piece. You connect me to each and every note in a way that no other classical musician can. Looking forward to the next concert!"

"Lara Downes’ “On the Bench” programs strip away all pretense of elitism and reveals the raw, real, gritty, human side of creativity. Her narrative gives fresh depth and dimension to the music; the music explicates and amplifies the narrative."

"Lara turned back the pages of history books with her "On the Bench" performance of Schumann piano works. She helped us see the grace Clara Schumann had for her husband and brought relevance not only to this century but to anyone that has ever been in love. Frauenliebe und Leben, spoken through Lara and her keyboard."