About

"A unique blend of musicianship

and showmanship"
-NPR

A captivating presence both on and offstage, critically acclaimed American pianist Lara Downes is recognized as one of the most exciting and communicative classical artists of her generation. Called "a delightful artist with a unique blend of musicianship and showmanship" by NPR and praised by the Washington Post for her stunning performances "rendered with drama and nuance", Lara presents the piano repertoire - from iconic favorites to newly commissioned works - in new ways that bridge musical tastes, genres and audiences.


Since making concert debuts at Queen Elizabeth Hall London, the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Salle Gaveau Paris, Downes has won over audiences at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the American Academy Rome, San Francisco Performances, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Portland Piano International and the University of Washington World Series, among many others.  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.


Ms. Downes’ chamber music appearances include collaborations with noted soloists and ensembles including cellist Zuill Bailey, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, jazz pianist Dan Tepfer, and the Alexander String Quartet. Commissions and premieres of new works for Lara have come from composers Mohammed Fairouz, David Sanford, Benny Golson, and Eve Beglarian, among others.

 

Lara’s solo recordings have met with tremendous critical and popular acclaim. Her debut CD, Invitation to the Dance (2000), was called "magical" by NPR, and her second release, American Ballads (2001), was ranked by Amazon among the best recordings of American concert music ever made. Dream of Me (2006), was praised for "exquisite sensitivity" by American Record Guide. 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg (2011) was called “addicting” by the Huffington Post, and “magnificent and different” by Sequenza 21. Her chart-topping new release, Exiles’ Café (2013), featured as CD of the Week by radio stations from WQXR New York to KDFC San Francisco, was called “ravishing” by Fanfare Magazine. She is regularly heard nationwide on radio programs including NPR Performance Today, WNYC New Sounds, WFMT Impromptu, TPR Classical Spotlight and WWFM Cadenza

 

Lara's busy performance career is strongly driven by her commitment to expanding and developing new audiences for the arts. She is the Founder and President of the 88 KEYS® Foundation, a non-profit organization that fosters opportunities for music experiences and learning in America's public schools, and she regularly works and performs with the next generation of talented young musicians as Artistic Director of the Young Artists program at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis, where she serves as Artist in Residence. Lara is Founder and Director of The Artist Sessions, San Francisco.

 

Lara Downes is a Steinway Artist.