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Lara Downes

By Stephanie Smittle

SUNDAY 9/15. 3 p.m. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville. $45.


Painter Georgia O’Keeffe once wrote that she wanted “music that makes holes in the sky.” Sacramento-based pianist Lara Downes named her album after the quote, and perhaps that is all you need to know to understand how fitting it is that Downes should play in an art museum with O’Keeffe’s original work on its walls. Downes’ “Holes in the Sky” — the name of this particular installment of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s Van Cliburn Series — pays homage to women as performers and composers, championing under-heralded names like Clara Schumann, Paola Prestini and Georgia Stitt. “I’m not undoing wrongs,” Downes told the San Francisco Classical Voice earlier this year. “It’s a celebration of the potential that people have. Black women writing music in the 1930s — it wasn’t easy, but still they did it. That creative, powerful urge, that’s the most inspiring thing about being human. In this project, it’s women who just stepped out of their constraints and did something because they needed to do it.” Mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran appears on the record as a guest artist alongside the likes of Rhiannon Giddens, Judy Collins and Rachel Barton Pine, and Moran joins Downes for this Sunday afternoon program in the museum’s Great Hall, interpreting selections from “Holes in the Sky” with harpist Bridget Kibbey. See to register your attendance, and note that Downes gives a free gallery talk on O’Keeffe’s work at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.


September 15, 2019
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR 72712 United States
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