Lara Downes’ Vision

For many years, I've been seeking out forgotten music by Black composers. I’ve been listening for the voices that tell a different story about American music than the one we think we know. A better story. A story of migration and metamorphosis, trial and triumph, courage and creativity — a story about where we’ve been and where we’re going. It’s a long story, and it’s a story that’s still being written.

Now it’s time for me to share my discoveries.

I think this music will speak to you in a beautiful and familiar language that evokes our memories of lineage and legacy, of the journeys we’ve made, and most of all, our awareness of the places where we come together.

Lara Downes

Read more about Lara Downes

About Rising Sun Music

Inspired by her own mixed-race heritage and career-long engagement with diverse musical traditions, pianist Lara Downes creates and curates a new digital recording venture, Rising Sun Music, that sheds a bright light on the music and stories of Black composers over the past 200 years. Featuring a wide range of leading instrumentalists and vocalists (including Ms. Downes) whose work defines the creative energy of this generation and the next, the series presents a new EP of music — each exploring a different theme — to be released the first Friday of every month.

From pioneers like William Grant Still, Eubie Blake, and Margaret Bonds, to voices of today including Jessie Montgomery, Carlos Simon, and Quinn Mason, the composers spotlighted in this eclectic series broaden and enrich the conventional narratives of classical music in America and beyond.

Featured performers include Nicole Cabell, Regina Carter, Anat Cohen, Lara Downes, Randall Goosby, Stewart Goodyear, Ivalas Quartet, Jiji, Bridget Kibbey, Rachel Barton Pine, Davóne Tines, Titus Underwood, and others. These recordings are co-produced by Grammy award-winning producer Adam Abeshouse.

Rising Sun Music recordings are distributed digitally worldwide, and available on all major streaming and download platforms including Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Primephonic, and Idagio.

About Presser's Rising Sun Sheet Music Series

Theodore Presser Company is honored to have been chosen by Lara Downes as the label's publishing partner. Beginning in April 2021 we are publishing sheet music for many of the works on Rising Sun's recordings, starting with Nora's Dance for solo piano (by Nora Holt) and Love Will Find a Way (Jeremy Siskind's piano arrangement of the song by Eubie Blake). Future publications scheduled throughout 2021 include solo piano and chamber works by historical composers Harry T. Burleigh, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Hazel Scott, Thomas Wiggins, Clarence Cameron White, and exciting new works by living composers.

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