· By Nicholas Stevens

Insisting on Hope & Humanity: Lara Downes on Love at Last


In March 2023, ArkivMusic hosted a Live Q&A session with piano soloist and arts advocate/activist Lara Downes. We were interviewing the interviewer, spotlighting someone who sheds light: Downes hosts NPR Music's Amplify web series, as well as Evening Music on KUSC and KDFC (where she is also Resident Artist). In 2022, the radio program Performance Today named her Classical Woman of the Year.


Yet as we discuss in this interview, Downes does not accept the label "classical," with its implication of a singular or isolable lineage, uncritically. Downes is an American musician with a global vision, embracing jazz standards, new music, and folk inspirations from everywhere (as well as Bach and Schubert!) on her wide-ranging, insistently humanitarian Pentatone debut Love at Last—the subject of our discussion.


Thanks to our friends at Pentatone and media partners at Naxos of America for their support!


In 2022-23, ArkivMusic hosted or co-presented live Q+A sessions with violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins; composer Missy Mazzoli and violinist Peter Herresthal; guitarist Christopher Mallett; pianists Eleonor BindmanFrank Dupree, and Sara Aimée Smiseth; composers Peter Boyer and William McClelland; countertenor Randall Scotting; and cello-piano duo Gabriel Schwabe and Roland Pöntinen. The recorded video from these talks lives on in perpetuity.


Order your CD recording of Love at Last on ArkivMusic today!