Composers Festival spotlight: Eli Lara

Cellist Eli Lara will make her Mizzou International Composers Festival debut this year, performing as part of the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, November 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Lara (pictured) joined the Mizzou faculty last fall as assistant professor of cello and the newest member of the Esterhazy Quartet.

For the MICF, she’ll perform a program of works dedicated to iconic Swiss conductor Paul Sacher, including “Trois Strophes sur le Nom de Sacher” by Henri Dutilleux, and several pieces composed as part of the “Mystery Variations” project celebrating the 50th birthday of Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen.

As an ensemble and solo musician, Lara has performed across North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. She is co-founder of Trio Séléné and was formerly cellist of the Calla Quartet and the Franklin String Quartet.

Lara has worked with many contemporary composers, including Fernando Buide, Krzystof Penderecki, Caroline Shaw, Julia Wolfe, and Jeffrey Wood. She has performed and/or premiered new works in numerous concerts and festivals including the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and Summergarden at the New York MoMA.

She is a graduate of Yale University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and an M.M. in cello performance. As a recipient of a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellowship, Lara then completed her D.M.A. at The Juilliard School

Before coming to Mizzou, Lara taught at Austin Peay State University in Nashville, where she also performed as co-principal of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, guest principal of the Paducah Symphony, and in the Nashville Opera Orchestra.

While in the Nashville area, she also worked frequently as a studio musician, recording with Willie Nelson on his album For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, as well as performing on video game soundtracks for Insomniac, Oculus Rift, and Electronic Arts (including Madden 16).

Lara also has been heard on NPR, at major venues such as New York’s Alice Tully Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall and at festivals including Birdfoot, Kneisel Hall, Sarasota, Banff, and Festival Pablo Casals (France).

Shortly after moving to Columbia last year, Lara was a guest on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program, and you can hear that interview here.

Trio Séléné, featuring Eli Lara (cello), Mingzhe Wang (clarinet), and Ilya Poletaev (piano), performs Fauré’s “Clarinet Trio, op. 120” in February 2017 at Austin Peay State University’s Mabry Hall.

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