Iconoclast and Trailblazing Pianist, Lara Downes, to Appear at Arthur Zankel Music Center

SARATOGA SPRINGSSaratoga Performing Arts Center announces that it has partnered with Skidmore College to present trailblazing pianist, speaker, and activist, Lara Downes for a special appearance on April 14th at 7:30 pm at the Arthur Zankel Music Center. Downes’ performance explores the landscape of American music from George Gershwin and Morton Gould to Billie Holiday, Scott Joplin, and Florence Price, giving voice to underrepresented and forgotten artists alongside their contemporaries.

“We are delighted to welcome Lara to Saratoga for her unique program which spotlights composers who have been underrepresented for far too long. Through her revelatory interpretations and contemporary lens, she invites classical music lovers and newcomers alike to discover these works in a completely unique and refreshing way,” said Elizabeth Sobol, President & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center. “We are grateful to Skidmore for partnering with SPAC for this special program which serves as a great introduction to Lara’s work in advance of her appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC this August.”

An iconoclast and trailblazer, her dynamic work as a sought-after performer, a Billboard Chart-topping recording artist, a producer, curator, activist, and arts advocate positions her as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene. Downes also hosts “AMPLIFY,” an NPR video series that features intimate conversations between BIPOC artists who are shaping the identity of a new era with a bold vision, powerful mission, and the inspiring energy of a transformative time.  

In addition to her performance on April 14th, Downes will lead a piano masterclass for music majors at Skidmore on April 13th at 5:30 pm. Students enrolled in the music program will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop and be mentored by the pianist. “What a thrill for our students to witness Lara’s great artistry and experience a one-of-kind program in our beautiful performance space. And, how lucky for them to also participate in a masterclass with her,” said Evan Mack, professor of music at Skidmore College.


Tickets for the April 14th performance are $30 for general admission and $10 for all collegiate students and faculty with valid school ID. Skidmore students enrolled in the music program will have free admission. This performance is a part of Skidmore’s Filene Anniversary Concert Series. Skidmore College strongly encourages guests to be fully vaccinated and masked when attending a performance in the Arthur Zankel Music Center. For tickets or more information click HERE or visit spac.org.

Downes will return to Saratoga on August 4th for her SPAC debut, where she’ll perform two premieres: The Strayhorn Concerto and Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement. For more information about those performances visit the SPAC website.

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