We're for sure you're going to love this new release!
Pianist Lara Downes celebrates Leonard Bernstein with her new album For Lenny that includes "special friends and family tribute to the man behind the music." Lara has quite a diverse group of artists: beatboxer and Pentatonix member Kevin “K.O.” Olusola, folk/roots singer Rhiannon Giddens, baritone Thomas Hampson, and clarinetist Javier Morales-Martinez.
WBAA's John Clare spoke to Downes about the new release, and how she put together the music and the musicians.
Learn more about For Lenny here. It includes music by Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, John Corigliano (see video below), and many others!
Lara Downes’ whole life has been a blending of traditions, styles, cultures, and genres. Not satisfied with being one of the preeminent pianists of her generation, Lara courageously dons and then sheds labels like “classical” or “eclectic" as freely as she engages audiences of all ages with her charismatic presence, intellectual curiosity, and masterful command of her artistic voice. She wants to create experiences that bring 19th and 20th century traditions firmly into the present for 21st century audiences. She is a trailblazer onstage and off. She is also a writer, a broadcaster, a mentor and a role model who understands that music is a dialogue between artist and audience, as everyday life is a balance between speaking and listening, giving and receiving.
“Leonard Bernstein reminds me of what a musician can be. Of what music can do in this world – how it can reach and teach and make things happen. Just imagine what American music was before Lenny came along, everything he changed. I’m only here at all, I think, because of the rules he broke and the doors he knocked down. Imagine the thousands of other musicians who feel the same way.” - Lara Downes