Praised by the New York Times as “a gifted Brazilian-American modernist” whose works are “brilliantly realized”, “technically formidable, wildly varied”, and possess “voluptuous, elemental lyricism”, Felipe Lara’s work — which includes orchestral, chamber, vocal, film, electroacoustic, and popular music—engages in producing new musical contexts by means of (re)interpreting and translating acoustical and extra-musical properties of familiar source sonorities into project-specific forces. He often aspires to create self-similar relationships between the macro and micro-articulation of the musical experience and highlights the interdependence of acoustic music composition and technology, including the application of electroacoustic paradigms as catalysts for both entire structures and local textures.
His music has been recently commissioned by leading soloists, ensembles, and institutions such as the Arditti Quartet (with ExperimentalStudio Freiburg SWR), Brentano Quartet (with Hsin-Yung Huang), Claire Chase, Conrad Tao, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Duo Diorama, Ensemble InterContemporain, Ensemble Modern, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ogni Suono, Rebekah Heller, and São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (Osesp), and also performed by the Amazonas Philharmonic, Asasello Quartet, Ensemble Recherche, David Fulmer, Ex Novo Ensemble, Ilan Volkov, JACK Quartet, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Mivos Quartet, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic Hilversum, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Peter Eötvös, Steven Schick, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.
His compositions have been presented by festivals and venues such as Aspen Music Festival, Centre Acanthes (Metz), Acht Brücken Festival (Kölner Philharmonie), Aldeburgh Music Festival (UK), Ars Musica (Belgium), The Art Institute of Chicago, Aspekte Festival (Salzburg), Asphalt Festival (Düsseldorf), Budapest Music Center, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts (New York), Crested Butte Music Festival (Time Spans), Darmstadt International Courses for New Musik, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Europalia (Belgium), Festival Música Nova (São Paulo), Fromm Players at Harvard, Hakuju Hall (Tokyo), Heidelberger Frühling, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), King’s Place (London), The Kitchen (New York), Luxembourg Philharmonie, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival (New York), New York Philharmonic Biennial, Philharmonie de Paris, Phillips Collection (Washington, DC), Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Roulette (Brooklyn), Sala Cecília Meireles (Rio de Janeiro), Tanglewood’s Festival for Contemporary Music, Teatro Amazonas (Manaus), Teatro La Fenice (Venice), and Theatro Municipal (São Paulo).
The recipient of a 2015 Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship, from Harvard University, he has been awarded an invitational fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (2014), composition prize from Funarte (Brazilian Ministry of Culture, 2014), Master Artist Award from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (2013), Kanter/Mivos String Quartet Prize (2011), Staubach Prize from IMD (Darmstadt, 2008), Dal Niente International Call-for-Scores, First Prize in Orchestra Composition from the Biennial for Brazilian Contemporary Music (2005), as well as commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University (2011) and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation at Library of Congress (2016). He was also a finalist for the 2014 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (Geneva, 2014).
Recent recordings include Metafagote on Rebekah Heller’s album also titled Metafagote (New York, Tundra Records, 2017), Parábolas na Caverna and Meditation and Calligraphy on Claire Chase’s Density 2036 (Berkeley, Meyer Sound 2017), Tran(slate) on JACK Quartet/Áltavoz composers (New York, New Focus Recordings 2014) and Progetto Prometeo – omaggio a Luigi Nono ed Emilio Vedovaby Ex Novo Ensemble (Venice, Rosenfinger 2009), Corde Vocale on Mivos Quartet’s Reappearances(New York, Carrier Records 2013), Corde Vocale by Arditti Quartet and Prisma by Duo Diorama on Quatro Visões Contemporâneas na Música Paulista (Campinas, Gravina 2008), and Sonata de Desintoxicação on Karin Fernandes’ Cria, which was awarded ‘album of the year’ by Brazilian Revista Concerto (São Paulo, Proac 2014).
He holds a PhD in Music Composition from New York University (Graduate Scholl of Arts and Science) where he was a Henry M. MacCracken Fellow, a Masters from Tufts University, and a Bachelors degree from Berklee College of Music. His main teachers were Louis Karchin, Tristan Murail, Mario Davidovsky, John McDonald, Vuk Kulenovic, and Alla Elana Cohen.
Additionally, he had lessons with Brian Ferneyhough, Chaya Czernowin, David Rakowski, Helmut Lachenmann, Kaija Saariaho, Marco Stroppa, Michel Jarrell, Philippe Leroux, Wolfgang Rihm, and Yan Maresz privately and in international festivals and academies such as the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Centre Acanthes, Darmstadt, Domaine Forget, Hindemith Institute, and June in Buffallo.
Having previously taught at New York University’s Faculty of Arts and Science, he has been visiting lecturer at Federal University of Bahia (Salvador, Brazil) and is currently Visiting Faculty, Lecturer on Music, at Harvard’s Department of Music, where he was awarded a Harvard Excellence in Teaching Award (2017).