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 Brazilian 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.
His music has been recently commissioned by leading soloists, ensembles, and institutions such as the Arditti Quartet (with ExperimentalStudio Freiburg SWR), Brentano Quartet, Claire Chase, Conrad Tao, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Duo Diorama, Ensemble InterContemporain, Ensemble Modern, Helsinki Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, Loadbang, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ogni Suono, and São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, as well as performed by the Amazonas Philharmonic, Ensemble Recherche, David Fulmer, Dirk Kaftan, Esperanza Spalding, Ilan Volkov, JACK Quartet, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Mivos Quartet, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic Hilversum, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Peter Eötvös, Steven Schick, Susanna Mällki, Talea Ensemble, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Thomas Adès, and Vimbayi Kaziboni.
His compositions have been presented by festivals and venues such as Aspen Music Festival, Centre Acanthes, Acht Brücken Festival, Aldeburgh Music Festival, Ars Musica, The Art Institute of Chicago, Aspekte Festival, Budapest Music Center, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, Darmstadt International Courses for New Music, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Europalia, Fromm Players at Harvard, Heidelberger Frühling, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, King’s Place, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Miller Theatre Composer Portraits, Musikfest Frankfurt, New York Philharmonic Biennial, Philharmonie de Paris, Phillips Collection, Roulette, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tanglewood’s Festival for Contemporary Music, Tanglewood’s Great Performers Series, Teatro Amazonas, Teatro La Fenice, and TimeSpans Festival.
The recipient of a 2015 Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship, from Harvard University, he has been awarded a Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award (2021), Prêmio Concerto (São Paulo, 2021), New Jersey Council for the Arts Fellowship (2020), 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), Staubach Prize (Darmstadt, 2008), First Prize in Orchestra Composition from the Biennial for Brazilian Contemporary Music (2005), as well as commissions from Chamber Music America (2021), Koussevitzky Music Foundation at Library of Congress (2016), and Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University (2011). He was also a finalist for the 2014 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (Geneva, 2014).
Lara is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Composition Department at Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute. Having previously taught at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University, he was Visiting Lecturer at Harvard’s Department of Music, where he was awarded two Harvard Excellence in Teaching Awards (2017, 2019). Lara has served as faculty at New Music on the Point, Banff Evolution Quartet, and Valencia International Performance Academy (VIPA). 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 of Music from Tufts University, and a Bachelors of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. His main teachers were Louis Karchin, Tristan Murail, Mario Davidovsky, John McDonald, Vuk Kulenovic, and Alla Elana Cohen.
Future engagements include performances of Double Concerto for Esperanza Spalding, Claire Chase, and large symphony orchestra by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (2023) and New York Philharmonic (2023), both led by Susanna Mälkki; the Carnegie Hall debut of Parábolas na Caverna as well as Meditations and Calligraphy part of Claire Chase’s Density project (2023); the world premiere of Sonare, a new large scale work for string quartet for the Parker Quartet, in Banff, Canada, commissioned by Chamber Music America (2022); as well as a the premiere of a new commissioned symphony orchestra work for the São Paulo Symphony, conducted by Thierry Fischer, part of the orchestra’s 70th anniversary festivities.