Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lara Downes: Here's a holiday gift for you, from someone...who has left the world with so much beauty: 'Chorale' by Dave Brubeck

Dear Friends,

When the world seems troubled beyond our comprehension, I know that we all need to focus on what is beautiful around us. I am grateful, every single day, that I am allowed to make music, to have something so beautiful always in my life, and to put something of beauty back out into the world.

I hope this finds you enjoying a peaceful and happy holiday season with your family and friends.

With the overwhelming events of this last week so heavy in our hearts and on our minds, I want to share with you a quote from Leonard Bernstein:  
"This will be our reply to violence. To make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."   

The music I've made this year has been rewarding in so many ways, and I'm looking forward to what is coming up in 2013. 

My new CD Exiles' Cafe, coming out on the Steinway & Sons label in February, is a collection of gorgeous miniatures by composers from Chopin to Kurt Weill, reflecting the journey of exile across centuries and continents. The album was recorded this Fall at the marvelous, GRAMMY-nominated Sono Luminus studios in VA, and is in its final pre-release preparations right now. I'm looking forward to sharing this music with audiences all over the country and abroad, beginning with an official launch at Steinway Hall in NYC in April. You can listen to preview clips here.

Another wonderful adventure coming up next year is a collaboration with composer Mohammed Fairouz, one of the most fascinating musical voices of this generation, who will be writing a large-scale work for piano and orchestra for me in 2013.

Other collaborations coming up early in the year: performances with the indie-classical band Build, my very favorite cellist Zuill Bailey, and composer/arranger Jed Distler

  Among other projects:
  • The Mondavi Center Young Artists Competition is in its 7th edition, with final auditions coming up in March. I traveled the country this year hearing young musicians from Portland to NY, and the range of talent is exciting and amazing.
  • I've been having fabulous conversations with other pianists, including fellow Goldberg enthusiasts Angela Hewitt, Simone Dinnerstein and Dan Tepfer, On the Bench.  
  • I'm thrilled to be launching a new downtown classical series in San Francisco this Spring, presenting the most exciting soloists and chamber ensembles on the circuit in a modern, intimate, festive (aka alcohol-will-be-served) setting. Details very soon!  
Here's a holiday gift for you, from someone recently departed who has left the world with so much beauty:  Chorale by Dave Brubeck. 

I wish for all of us a New Year of peace, health and happiness, and I hope to have occasions to visit with all of you on my travels in 2013! 


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