Arts Blog

America Again: Lara Downes explores the fabric of the nation in music

When Lara Downes crafts a recording, she explores not just themes in music, but meanings and expressions.  In my conversation with Lara, America Again was prompted by one of the many shootings that took place earlier this year, and so she put aside the project she’d been working on, to reconnect with America, its music, and what composers have expressed through their music about our country.  Downes has found wonderful pieces written by Americans who come from many aspects of our culture, in terms of ethnic ancestry, beliefs and orientations, as well as composers both deceased and living.  The living composers include Angélica Negrón (Sueno Recurrente); Dan Visconti (Nocturne from Lonesome Roads); and David Sanford (Promise).  The third of these is connected to a new project that Ms. Downes has created called My Promise Project, where people, especially young people, can declare their promise to the world (the project has been getting a lot of traction on social media since I recorded my interview).

I made many new musical “friends” in listening to this CD.  Even with composers I’ve known and admired for many years, such as Morton Gould, were a revelation to me on “America Again”.  You’ll no doubt find many pieces you know and love, and maybe will also find some new pieces to listen to again and again.  “America Again” illustrates just how diverse our country truly is, and how each experience, each voice, is American.

America Again – Lara Downes
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