Lara Downes


Pianist Lara Downes is an iconoclast and trailblazer whose dynamic work as a sought-after performer, Billboard Chart-topping recording artist, producer, curator, activist, and arts advocate positions her as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene. 

Ms. Downes’ creative roadmap seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family, and collective memory, excavating the broad landscape of American music to create a series of acclaimed performance and recording projects that serve as gathering spaces for her listeners to find common ground and shared experience.

She is the creator and curator of the Rising Sun Music series, host of NPR Music’s interview series AMPLIFY with Lara Downes, host and Resident Artist at KDFC, and Artist Citizen in Residence at Manhattan School of Music. Her work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Sphinx Organization, the Classical Recording Foundation Award, the University of California Innovator of the Year Award, and the Center for Cultural Innovation, among others.

She is equally at home on major stages including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Boston Symphony Hall, at the Ravinia Festival, and Tanglewood and in intimate venues including Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust, Yoshi’s, and Le Poisson Rouge.

Her commitment to activism and advocacy sees her working with organizations including the ACLU, Feeding America, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, the Sphinx Organization, and Watts Learning Center. ​She is an Artist Ambassador for Headcount, a non-partisan organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy.