Lara Downes presents "Holes in the Sky"
Featuring Bridget Kibbey, Magos Herrera, and Simone Dinnerstein
6pm doors • 7pm show
The dreams and ambitions of women and girls can make holes in the sky. This vision, inspired by a quote from Georgia O’Keeffe, serves as the impetus for Holes in the Sky, a concert by pianist Lara Downes and friends.
Presenting work from her Sony Masterworks album of the same title, and celebrating her newest release For Love Of You, Downes marks the 200th birthday of Clara Schumann (born on this day in 1819!) with a genre-fluid tribute to influential female composers past, present, and future, featuring music by Schumann, Florence Price, Meredith Monk, Nina Simone, Paola Prestini, Joni Mitchell, and more. Joined by harpist Bridget Kibbey, vocalist Magos Herrera, and pianist Simone Dinnerstein, Lara brings the work of brilliant, trailblazing women alive on stage.
Join Lara Downes and Friends for a concert performance of Holes in the Sky, “a celebration of otherness” (Washington Post).
The concert will include a discussion moderated by WQXR’s Clemency Burton-Hill.
Special thanks to Yamaha Artist Services, WQXR, and Naxos of America.
Lara Downes is among the foremost American pianists of her generation, an iconoclast dedicated to expanding the resonance and relevance of live music for diverse audiences. A trailblazer on and off the stage, she follows a musical roadmap that seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family, and collective memory.
Downes’ playing has been called “ravishing” by Fanfare magazine, "luscious, moody and dreamy” by the New York Times, and "addicting" by the Huffington Post. As a chart-topping recording artist, a powerfully charismatic performer, and a curator and tastemaker, Downes is recognized as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene.
Lara’s forays into the broad landscape of American music have created a series of acclaimed recordings, including America Again, selected by NPR as one of "10 Albums that Saved 2016", and hailed as "a balm for a country riven by disunion" by the Boston Globe. Her recent Sony Classical debut release, For Lenny, debuted in the Billboard Top 20 and was awarded the 2017 Classical Recording Foundation Award.
Her newest album, Holes in the Sky, a genre-fluid collection of music written and performed by today’s leading female artists in celebration of the contributions of phenomenal women to the past, present, and future of American music, comes out in March 2019 on the Sony Masterworks label.
Downes enjoys creative collaborations with a range of leading artists, including folk icon Judy Collins, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, baritone Thomas Hampson, former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and multi-instrumentalist/composer/singer Rhiannon Giddens. Her close partnerships with prominent composers span genres and generations, with premieres and commissions coming from Jennifer Higdon, John Corigliano, Stephen Schwartz, Paola Prestini, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and many others. Downes’ fierce commitment to arts advocacy, mentorship, and education sees her working in support of non-profit organizations including the Time In Children’s Arts Initiative, PLAN International, the Sphinx Organization, Women’s Empowerment, Washington Performing Arts, and NPR’s From The Top, where she will appear as a featured guest host in Spring 2019.
Ms. Downes is represented worldwide by Cadenza Artists and is a member of the Yamaha Artist Roster.
According to the New York Times, harpist Bridget Kibbey “…makes it seems as though he instrument had been waiting all its life to explode with the energetic figures and gorgeous colors she was getting from it.”
Called the "Yo-Yo Ma of the harp," by Vogue’s Senior Editor Corey Seymour, Bridget Kibbey
is a winner of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Salon de Virtuosi SONY Recording Grant, an artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and winner of Premiere Prix at the Journées de les Harpes Competition in Arles, France. Kibbey has fast gained a reputation for her diverse, energetic programming that spans the baroque, French Masterworks, and rhythmic migration in South America.
Upcoming highlights include: Multiple tours of her own adaptations of J.S. Bach’s keyboard concerti alongside the Dover Quartet in the US and Canada, a ten-city duo collaboration with mandolinist Avi Avital, and various solo recitals around the United States.
She premieres a new harp concerto with four American Orchestras – written by composer João Luiz Rezende - exploring the evolution of Brazilian popular dance forms on the harp, alongside her own Bach transcriptions with string orchestra, starting with the Orlando Philharmonic, paired with Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in F Minor.
She returns to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner, presenting French Masterworks by Debussy, Ravel, and Caplet.
Kibbey has toured and recorded with luminaries Placido Domingo, Dawn Upshaw, and Gustavo Santaollalo for SONY Records and Deutsche Grammaphon; and, her own debut album, Love is Come Again, was named one of the Top Ten Releases by Time Out New York.
Bridget Kibbey‘s solo performances have been broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, New York‘s WQXR, WNYC’s Soundcheck, WETA’s Front Row Washington, WRTI’s Crossover, and on television in A&E‘s Breakfast with the Arts. Most recently she was named "Best in Studio 2018" by WQXR for her performance of her own adaptation of J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, live on air.
Kibbey appears frequently as soloist and chamber musician at festivals and series across the globe, including Schloss Elmau, Pelotas Festival, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart, Aspen, Bravo!Vail, Santa Fe, Spoleto, Big Ears Knoxville, Chamber Music Northwest, Bridgehampton, Bay Chamber, Savannah Music Festival, and Music@Menlo.
Born in Mexico City and currently based out of New York City, Magos Herrera is a dazzling jazz singer-songwriter, producer, and educator. Magos is regarded as one of the most expressive, beautiful voices and most active vocalists in the contemporary Latin American jazz scene. She is best known for her eloquent vocal improvisation and her singular bold style, which embraces elements of contemporary jazz with Latin American melodies and rhythms singing in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, in a style that elegantly blends and surpasses language boundaries. She has recorded six solo albums, has worked on joint collaborations for two more albums with producer Javier Limón in addition to having participated as a guest artist of several recordings and albums. An accomplished artist, Magos has performed in a variety of leading international cultural venues such as Lincoln Center in NYC, Kennedy Center in DC, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Union Chapel in London, Duc des Lombardes in Paris, Kamani Auditorium in Delhi, Palau de la Musica in Valencia, and has been part of the line-up of some of the most memorable jazz festivals around the world including Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Festival Internacional Cervantino, to mention a few.
Throughout her career, Magos has garnered important awards and recognitions, including a Grammy short-list nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category for her album Distancia (2009), and is the only female artist to have received the Berklee College of Music‘s Master of Latin Music Award. She is well known for championing women’s causes and currently serves as spokesperson for UN Women, and has contributed to important campaigns including UNITE to end violence against women and He For She, as a promoter of gender equality. She serves as an artistic advisor of the "National Sawdust".
2018 was a banner year for Simone Dinnerstein, including a highly lauded recital at the Kennedy Center, her debut with the London Symphony Orchestra, a live recital for BBC’s Radio Three, and an ambitious season as the first artist-in-residence for Music Worcester, encompassing performances, school outreach, master classes, and lectures. Future highlights include a European tour with Kristjan Jarvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and a residency in San Francisco with the New Century Chamber Orchestra including a collaboration with Daniel Hope and Lynn Harrell for the Beethoven Triple Concerto.
Known for her highly personal recital programs, she is increasingly branching out into interesting collaborations. Upcoming projects include performances conducting and leading from the keyboard with her newly-formed string ensemble Baroklyn; duo recitals with cellist Matt Haimovitz; and Portals: Travels through Time, a performance piece with violinist Tim Fain.
Dinnerstein spent 2018 touring Piano Concerto No.3, a piece that Philip Glass wrote for her as a co-commission by twelve orchestras. Circles, her world premiere recording of the concerto with Grammy-nominated string orchestra A Far Cry, topped the Billboard Classical charts. At their New York premiere, the New Yorker was “struck dumb with admiration” by this new addition to the piano concerto repertoire. She has performed the concerto in the U.S. and abroad, including performances alongside the co-commissioning orchestras. Future performances will be held in France, Germany, Italy, and Canada.
Dinnerstein released Mozart in Havana in 2017, recorded in Cuba with the Havana Lyceum Orchestra. She went on to bring the orchestra to the United States for their first ever American tour, which was received with tremendous enthusiasm and was featured in specials for PBS and NPR. Also in 2017, she collaborated with choreographer Pam Tanowitz to create New Work for Goldberg Variations, which was on the year-end top ten lists of critics at the New York Times and the Boston Globe. This project continues to tour and will be given a run of performances at New York’s Joyce Theater in 2019.
Dinnerstein first attracted attention in 2007 with her self-produced recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. It was a remarkable success, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Classical chart in its first week of sales and was named to many "Best of 2007" lists including those of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the New Yorker. The recording also received the prestigious Diapason d’Or in France and established Dinnerstein’s distinctive and original approach. The New York Times called her “a unique voice in the forest of Bach interpretation.”
Since 2007, Dinnerstein has made a further eight albums with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to Ravel, all of which have topped the Billboard Classical charts. Dinnerstein’s performance schedule has taken her around the world. She has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Sydney Opera House, Seoul Arts Center, and London’s Wigmore Hall; festivals that include the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival and the Aspen, Verbier, and Ravinia festivals; and performances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, and the Tokyo Symphony.
Dinnerstein has played concerts throughout the U.S. for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing classical music to non-traditional venues. She gave the first classical music performance in the Louisiana state prison system at the Avoyelles Correctional Center and performed at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in a concert organized by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Dedicated to her community, Dinnerstein founded Neighborhood Classics in 2009, a concert series open to the public and hosted by New York public schools to raise funds for their music education programs. She also created a program called Bachpacking during which she takes a digital keyboard to elementary school classrooms, helping young children get close to the music she loves.
A winner of Astral Artists’ National Auditions, she is a graduate of The Juilliard School where she was a student of Peter Serkin. She also studied with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music and in London with Maria Curcio. She is on the faculty of the Mannes School of Music and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son, and Old English Sheepdog, Daisy.