Lara Downes is among the foremost American pianists of her generation, a trailblazer both on and off the stage, whose musical roadmap seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family and collective memory. As a chart-topping recording artist, a powerfully charismatic performer, a curator and tastemaker, Downes is recognized as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene.
Downes' forays into the broad landscape of American music have created a series of acclaimed recordings, including America Again, hailed by The Boston Globe as "a balm for a country riven by disunion."
With a fierce commitment to arts advocacy, Downes enjoys creative collaborations with a range of leading artists, including multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer Rhiannon Giddens, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, folk icon Judy Collins, writer Adam Gopnik, and former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove. Her close partnerships with prominent composers span genres and generations, with premieres and commissions coming from Jennifer Higdon, John Corigliano, Stephen Schwartz, Paola Prestini, Clarice Assad, Michael Abels, and many others.
The poet and playwright wrestles with the idea of being an activist in America today in its various forms, meanings and misunderstandings.
Eavesdrop on the forward-thinking pianist as she talks with musical omnivore Rhiannon Giddens, who has just taken over Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road organization.