Time Out New York


"one of our favorite up-and-coming composers"


David Allen - New York Times
From "Review: ICE Features Levy Lorenzo on Teacups and Rebekah Heller on Bassoon


"Felipe Lara's "Metafagote"(2015) rearranged my understanding of an instrument rarely in the spotlight, ever the orchestra's bridesmaid.

Like Luciano Berio's genre-defying "Sequenza XII" (1995), for the same instrument, Mr. Lara's work is self-referential, about the bassoon itself.
Or, rather, it's about bassoons, as the work surrounds the soloist with prerecorded sounds of six other soloists, foreshadowing the live artist, challenging her, admiring her and interracting with her. It might have been an odd comment, as if to say that solo bassoon needs to talk to others to communicate anything meaningful, had the palette that Mr. Lara demands - and received - from Ms. Heller not drown still further attention to the instrument's possibilities.

Voz dos Ventos

Vivien Schweitzer - New York Times
From "Voices, Winds and Paths" at the Chelsea Music Festival


"An alluring array of sounds filled St. Paul's German Lutheran Church in Manhattan on Tuesday evening during a performance of the Brazilian-born composer Felipe Lara's "Voz dos Ventos" ("Voice of the Winds"), part of the imaginative Chelsea Music Festival. Mr. Lara advised the audience not to turn around and watch the clarinetist Danny Goldman, the flutist Caitlyn Phillips, and the bassoonist Brad Balliet as they played in a balcony at the back of the church, but to focus instead on how the music traveled in space.

The lights were dimmed as what sounded like a chorus of deep breathers echoed through the church. It seemed as if more than three instruments were at work as unearthly timbres blended in a microtonal mesh, the music flowing and ebbing in intensity as the low rumblings of the bassoon underpinned the bright sound of the flute."

Voz dos Ventos

Joan Reinthalerr - Washington Post
From "International Contemporary Ensemble vividly showcases distinct styles of Lara and Balter"


"Lara's two pieces, "Livro dos Sonhos" ("Book of Dreams") for clarinet and piano and "Voz dos Ventos" (a world premiere) for amplified flute, clarinet and bassoon, exude energy. The instruments spar, interrupt and mirror each other and, at times, come together in mutual agreement. There are shrieks and slides, hissing, flutter-tonguing and almost percussive sounds that stretch the limits of instrumental possibilities. But througout all this, Lara manages an internal architectureal logic that shapes a curve from beginning to end. Clarinetist Joshua Rubin and pianist Cory Smythe bounced off each other with exquisite timing in "Livros" and in "Voz" the trio, Rubin (playing in the back of the hall), flutist Claire Chase and bassoonist Rebekah Heller surrounded the audience with the ghostly sounds of wind and gathering storm."

Voz dos Ventos

Debora Ghivelder - O Globo
From "O compositor paulista Felipe Lara se destaca no circuito internacional"


"Lara é mesmo um nome em ascenção no campo da música contemporânea"


"Lara is indeed a name in ascension in the field of contemporary music"


Irvine Arditti - violinist, founder of the Arditti Quartet


"Brazilian composer Felipe Lara is one of the very best young composers today. He combines various musical languages to create a syntax of his own. This is certainly true of his recent second string quartet, a work that can be played with or without electronics".


Anthony Tommasini - critic for the New York Times
From his JACK Quartet music review "At ease in T-shirts or suits, with Medieval or Modern", March 4th, 2010.

"In his brilliantly realized "Tran(slate)" (2008), the composer Felipe Lara transforms an earlier work for string quartet and electronics into a completely instrumental piece. All the bleeps, rings, loops, time delays and such of electronic music are evoked by the string players in a technically formidable, wildly varied work that evolves in sputtering sections. The performance was a tour de force of intensity and color".


Sidney Molina - critic for Folha de São Paulo
From feature article " O Vanguardista" in the arts section (Folha Ilustrada), March 8th, 2010.

"Como seria se a busca de "unidade na diversidade" (que é a assinatura de um autor como Mozart) se unisse com o trabalho de variação contínua sobre um "mínimo denominador" (que define a personalidade poética de Beethoven)? Uma resposta pode ser "Tutti", de Felipe Lara, escrita para uma formação camerística análoga à de "Pierrot Lunaire" de Schoenberg (1874-1951), e disponível em excelente gravação no CD "Música Plural" (2009), interpretada pelo Percorso Ensemble dirigido por Ricardo Bologna".


"Felipe Lara não escreve música para ficar engavetada: sem abrir mão das cicatrizes do espírito, sua musicalidade complexa atrai intérpretes e provoca a escuta".

English translation:

"How would it be if the serach of a "unity in diversity" (which is the signature of an author like Mozart) was combined with one of continuous variation on a "common denominator" (that better defines the poetic personality of Beethoven)? One answer could be "Tutti", by Felipe Lara, written for a chamber combination analogue to Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire" (1874-1951), and available in an excelent recording in the CD "Música Plural" (2009), here interpreted by the Percorso Ensemble, and conducted by Ricardo Bologna".


"Felipe Lara doesn't write music to stay in cabinets: never letting go of the scars of the spirit, his complex musicality attracts performers and teases the very act of listening".


Click on the article for high resolution download.


Von Marius Volz - critic for the German newspaper Darmstädter Echo.
From his article - Über alle Hindernisse hinweg,
July 11th, 2008.

"Im Abendkonzert am Donerstag in der Orangerie verschmilzt in Laras zweitem Streichquartett "Tran(slate)" die Elektronik auf raffinierte Weise mit dem Instrumentalensemble. Lara hat kurze akustische Schnipsel, bestehend aus wenigen gesummten Tönen, digital verarbeitet, um musikalische Informationen zu erhalten. Diese transformiert er zu den Motiven des Quartettsatzes. Die Klänge wandern, ausgehend vom Streichquartett auf der Bühne, in fließenden Prozessen mit den elektronischen Einspielungen durch den Raum. Hier wird auf schlüssige Weise Neues geschaffen, das mit alten Traditionen des Genres bricht."

English translation:

"In the evening concert on Thursday, in the Orangerie, the electronics and the instrumental ensemble coalesced in a refined manner. Lara had short acoustic snippets comprising of a few hummed tones, which were digitally processed for the computer to store. These transformed the motives and phrases from the string quartet. The sounds wandered, outwards from the string quartet on the stage, in real-time processes with the electronic sounding in different places throughout the room. Here new invention and old tradition collapsed convincingly."


Patrick Valentino - critic for the Classical Voice of New England.
From his JACK Quartet Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston concert review.


"Felipe Lara (b.1979) managed to gain coherency by presenting and then uniting many diverse elements. In Lara's work, a kaleidoscopic unity was arrived at by the contrapuntal juxtaposition of its myriad sonic effects."


Jeremy Eichler - critic for the Boston Globe.
From his JACK Quartet Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston concert review.


"Felipe Lara's "Tran(slate)" leaned on sharp attacks and various extended techniques (at one point, a rubber band on strings) to convey its expressive urgency".


Leonardo Martinelli - composer and critic for Revista Concerto, Brazil.
From his article - Gente Nova, Música Nova.

"Poucas semanas atrás foi a vez de Felipe Lara, agraciado com Prêmio Staubach, que além de alguns milhares de euros, lhe rendeu também a encomenda de uma nova obra a ser estreada pelo conceituado Arditti String Quartet no mítico festival de verão de Darmstadt, na Alemanha. Prêmios como estes são apenas a ponta de um iceberg, não só na carreira destes compositores, mas de toda uma geração."

Para o artigo integral clique aqui.

English translation:

"A few weeks ago was Felipe Lara's turn, granted the Staubach Prize, which apart from the award, provided him with a new commission, which (as a finalist) was premiered by the respected Arditti Quartet in the legendary summer festival of Darmstadt, Germany. Prizes like these are only the tip of the iceberg, not only in these composers careers, but for an entire generation."

For the entire article click here.

Corde Vocale

MIVOS Quartet - Brazilian Endownment for the Arts - New York City
Steve Smith - critic for New York Times

"a gifted Brazilian-American modernist"

Corde Vocale

David Kettle - critic for The Strad
From MIVOS Quartet Reappearances CD review


"The players seem to enjoy every minute of Felipe Lara's flamboyant, ever-surprising Corde Vocale, playing with a sure sense of style and swagger. "

Corde Vocale

Arditti Quartet - Eisner and Lubin Auditorium - New York City
Steve Smith - music editor and critic for TIME OUT New York.


"Felipe Lara's Corde Vocale, stuck me as the piece most likely to gain entry into the Arditti repertoire: an introductory stretch of stabbing thrusts, stitched together with the most tenuous of sonic threads, gave rise to a series of tonal chords made all the more startling by context. A transition of sine-wave stillness led to an agitated conclusion. The horsehair-ripping physicality of Lara's piece announced a bold, distinctive voice, presented with stylistic confidence and technical assurance."

Corde Vocale

Arditti Quartet - 42nd Festival de Musica Nova - SESC Vila Mariana - São Paulo/Brazil
Arthur Nestrovski - music and literary critic for Folha de São Paulo

"Tanto melhor que o programa de anteontem, fechando a programação do Festival Música Nova, trazia outras obras bem recentes, incluindo a música de dois brasileiros, Felipe Lara(1979) e Alexandre Lunsqui (1969). "Corde Vocale", do sorocabano Felipe Lara, foi composto no ano retrasado. As "cordas vocais" do título são metáforas para as vocalizantes cordas do quarteto, que se comunicam irregular e contrapuntisticamente, numa nebulosa sonora. Doutorando em composição na Universidade de Nova York, sob orientação de Mario Davidovsky, Louis Karchin e Tristan Murail (Columbia), Lara escreve num idioma que conversa com a eletroacústica e a música espectral, mas aponta para outra direção."

English translation:

"So much so that the program, wrapping up the festival, also brought brand new works, including two Brazilians, Felipe Lara(1979) e Alexandre Lunsqui (1969). Lara's "Corde Vocale" was composed two years ago. The "vocal chords" from the title refers to metaphors of vocalizing strings from the quartet, which communicate irregularly and contrapuntaly in a sonic cloud. Currently a PhD candidate at New York University under the supervision of Mario Davidovsky, Louis Karchin, and Tristan Murail (Columbia), Lara writes in an idiom which converses with electroacoustic and spectral music, but points at a rather different direction."

Corde Vocale

MIVOS Quartet - CD Review (Reappearances)
Tiny Mix Tapes


"It’s at the tensest moment in life when you recognize what matters the most, no? Well, under the guidance of that malevolent beauty, Mivos Quartet strings up some sizzling sounds, vibrating along a hollowed wooden pathway, and lending a helping hand into the heart of sheer fearful finesse. With a little help from modern composer Felipe Lara, the five flay a world with “Corde Vocale” in which wind blows the dripping of terror and down pour of mystery into the temple of pure creative thought. A process which the Mivos Quartet seems to behold while playing together, looking off each other and notes for direction. This symbiosis in artistry harnesses some serious attention outside of the physical, and borders on the process of improv, or straight up going with the flow. Not that it’s all made up on the spot, no, but so skillfully written and performed in their entirety that their music, especially when playing with Felipe Lara on “Corde Vocale,” is as though it’s a revolving and ever expanding idea of itself being momentary."

Corde Vocale

MIVOS Quartet - CD Review (Reappearances)
Artsbeat - New York Times

"Felipe Lara's volumptuous, elemental lyricism."

Corde Vocale

MIVOS Quartet - CD Review (Reappearances)
Jay Batzner
- Sequenza 21


"Finishing off the disc with a bang, Felipe Lara's Corde Vocale is hyper-colorful and full of rich singular moments of arrival. Less a work of counterpoint and juxtaposition, Lara's composition is more akin to aural surfing; the ideas build and grow around the listeners and then inevitably and inoxerably crash down around them. Mivos performs this work as a single polyphonic hyper-instrument. This piece is a strong closer for the group and an excellent way to complete an auspicious debut disc."

Parábolas na Caverna and Meditation and Calligraphy

Zachary Woolfe - New York Times
From "Building Momentum Toward a Centennial, Claire Chase Performs Part II of Density 2036"

"Felipe Lara's Meditation and Calligraphy and Parábolas na Caverna had particularly fluttering, ricocheting flute lines"


Cicely Binford - Perth Arts Review (Australia)
From "Review: Claire Chase/Selections from Density 2036"

The pieces we heard on Wednesday night were selections from parts i, ii, iii (2013-2015), beginning with two compositions by Felipe Lara, Meditation and Calligraphy (2014) for solo amplified flute, and Parabolas na Caverna (2014) for solo amplified flute. From the opening notes, it's apparent we're in for an uncommon, provocative, experimental performance.

Chase puts her whole body into her music, and the flute becomes a vast range of percussive and melodic instruments in her hands. She spits, vocalizes, aspirates, thumps and pops into the mic'd mouthpiece, creating a cacophony that jars and teases, surprises and delights. Chase seems determinate to push the boundaries of the flute, reaching into uncgharted territory.


Cool Perth Nights (Australia)
From "Claire Chase Presents Selections from Density 2036, @PICA Performance Space"

The first is Meditation and Calligraphy (for G. Mend-Ooyo) (2014) by Felipe Lara. Chase emerges from behind a black curtain into the mostly dark space, finding her place on a stool under a narrow spotlight. Here, she begins to calmly and decisevely breathe sound through a golden bass flute tha shimmers likea sunset as she slowly sways. The notes are spare and rustling, as patient and nonchalant as a breeze, until suddenly she lets fly a pair of wild staccato stabs, semewhere between a note and a violent sneeze. This contrast leads into a textured polyphony - two notes somehow emerging at once - then key noise and a low growl, a gurgling contemplation, something akin to a horse's snort. And on it goes, sounds emerging as discrete utterances, suggesting less a narrative and more a unity of mood and purpose. Lara wrote the piece quickly after meditating for an evening, inspired by the stately calligraphic gestures of Mongolian poet G. Mend-Ooyo whom he'd met in Umbrian castle. It's a great backstory but, more importantly, it actually translates: each note, whispy phase and near-tactile vibration floats with the assuredness of ink swooshed clean on paper.

Another Lara commission, Parábolas na Caverna (2014) follows. Again, this is very much flute laid bare - no backing tracks, no effects to speak of. Given the simplicity of this arrangement it's tempting to describe it as "minimal" bit - on the contrary - Case conjures a dizzying array of pitches, timbres and dynamics. The percussive tonguing of raindrop-like notes about a minute in is the first sound of the night that I feel I've never quite heard before. The piece also ventures into hectic cacophony, pitchless squeels and aquatic burbles. But its overall impression is its real triumph: a carefully hewn yet somehow formless rhapsody, inspited by Plato's cave and its compelling but ungraspable shadows of reality.



Frank J. Oteri - New Music Box
From Donaueschinger Musiktage 2010 review "But is it Music?".

"The same concert also featured a fine piece Brazilian-American composer Felipe Lara, who lives in New York."



João Marcos Coelho - O Estado de São Paulo (Caderno 2)
From "As Américas em atraente concerto da Camerata Aberta".


"Tutti, de Felipe Lara instaura um fluxo instrumental constante, em que todos os participantes se interpenetram seja do ponto de vista do timbre, seja da textura. Obra surpreendente de um enorme talento que começa a destacar-se significativamente na cena contemporânea internacional."

English translation:

"Felipe Lara's Tutti establishes a constant instrumental flux, in which all of the participating instruments interpenetrate one another from both a timbral, as well as a textural point of view. An amazing work from an enormous talent that is starting to distinguish himself in the international contemporary music scene."


International Contemporary Ensemble - Mostly Mozart@ Lincoln Center
Crack Critic - "ICE in the afternoon"


"Felipe Lara’s Som(bra) for amplified alto and bass flutes was shocking. Performed by the magnificent Alice Teyssier and Claire Chase, ICE’s artistic director, it’s impossible to imagine this sexually charged duo making a stronger case for Mr. Lara’s brilliant projection of human and animal societies ancient and contemporary. One could imagine our two protagonists as feline sisters hissing, howling, whispering, burping and roaring at each other (Flutes? How? Wow!). They ate up and spit out the composer’s seemingly impossible demands and, more than glorifying in their own mastery of extended techniques, revealed Felipe Lara’s extraordinary imagination."


Lawrence A. Johnson - Chicago Classical Review
From "ICE chills with three new works for bass clarinets and flutes".


"Felipe Lara's Vocalise utilizes the bass clarinets' upper range in an edgy jazz-like stridency, far from the animalistic lowing one associated with the instrument. Rubin and MacDonald displayed sterling versatility, the music ranging from ominous quiet bass notes to screeching high lines, with the players called upon to sing into their instruments".


Berkshire Symphony - cond. Ronald Feldman - Williams College - Chapin Hall
The Berkshire Review for the Arts

"Onda is a classic tone poem. Its title means “wave” in several Romance languages, and it does indeed bring Debussy’s La Mer to mind at times, but in a way refreshingly free from the obvious clichés a composer might fall prey to. Mr. Lara introduces his undular motif with sharp attacks and a brilliant sound from a very large orchestra. Although scene-painting and atmosphere were central, Onda showed a strong sense of form in equal measure. Colorful orchestration was central, here enriched by a more sophisticated musical imagination, more daring sonorities, and a vivid exoticism. Again Mr. Feldman’s reading got right to the core of the music and brought it to life as it should be: what was harsh was harsh, what was strange was strange, and delicate passages were most sensitively played."


International Contemporary Ensemble - Merkin Concert Hall - New York City
Steve Smith's blog - music editor and critic for TIME OUT New York.


"At the other end of the spectrum, Felipe Lara's Serenata, proved that complexity is far from played out. Based on the half-dozen or so pieces I've heard so far, Lara is a composer concerned with tonal clashes and rhythmic abrasion; even so, I've yet to hear a piece of his that didn't sound utterly natural, even inevitable. Lara has a unique gift for creating difficult music that falls easy on the ear. His Serenata -- scored for flute, bass clarinet, French horn, acoustic guitar, harp, piano, double bass and percussion -- ebbed and flowed like a moody dream interrupted by fits and starts. Lara's masterful combinations of tone and timbre frequently suggested voices and instruments that simply weren't present on the stage."


Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira - Sala Cecília Meireles - Rio de Janeiro/Brazil
by Tom Moore


"The festival began with its only orchestral program, featuring the  Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira, directed by Luis Gustavo Petri, at  the Sala Cecília Meireles, downtown. First up was a Nocturne for  Strings by Felipe Lara (São Paulo, b. 1979), a slow, atmospheric,  spare and well-made work, reflecting evening vapors with slides and  microtonal trills, a long-breathed piece reminiscent in mood of the  religious vein of Messiaen"

Livro dos Sonhos I

AltaVoz Ensemble - Michael Norsworthy and John McDonald - John Knowles Paine Hall - Harvard University - Cambridge/MA
by David Cleary - from New Music Connoisseur


"In his program notes to Livro dos sonhos I , Felipe Lara makes no secret of the abrupt, non-linear nature of his duet for clarinet and piano. It says much for this scattered composition that it  doesn't contain a single dull moment. There are violent contrasts  aplenty, with enough showy writing to challenge the finest players. And extended techniques are nicely integrated into the clangorous  fabric. It's surprisingly wonderful to hear. Clarinetist Michael  Norsworthy and pianist John McDonald were utterly stunning in Lara's work, gleefully seizing its wild abandon and exuberantly  tearing into its breathtaking difficulties."
Livro dos Sonhos I

New York New Music Ensemble - Jean Kopperud and Stephen Gosling -Latin Roots Festival - Americas Society - New York/NY
by Bruce Hodges - from Seen and Heard International


"One of the clear hits of the night was Felipe Lara's Livro dos Sonhos 1 (Book of Dreams 1) for clarinet and piano. The pianist supplements the keyboard with occasionally stomping the pedals for their unique percussive effects. Meanwhile, the scalding clarinet part seems to escalate in torment, before it returns to its original insistent note. Mr. Gosling was joined by clarinetist Jean Kopperud, each vying top honors in ferocity."


Duo Diorama - Minghuan Xu and Winston Choi - Festival de Música Nova - São Paulo and Santos/Brazil
by Gilberto Mendes - composer, creator of Festival de Música Nova, and key figure of Brazilian Manifesto Musica Nova of 1963 - Jornal "A Tribuna" - Santos/Brazil

"Do brasileiro Felipe Lara, estudando no momento em universidade norte-americana, também outra novidade, outra jóia musical: Prisma. O curioso é que Felipe Lara vem da música popular, é fenomenal o salto que ele deu para a música da mais alta cultura, que é a música de vanguarda, de invenção."

English translation:

"From Felipe Lara, currently studying in a North-American University, another musical jewel: Prisma. It's curious that Felipe Lara comes from popular music, and it's phenomenal the "jump" that he gave into the music of highest culture, that is avant-garde music, music of invention."


AltaVoz Ensemble - Julliard Pierrot Ensemble - Paul Hall - Julliard School - New York City
by David Salvage - Sequenza 21


"Felipe Lara's "Tutti," the last piece on the program, once again brought to the stage the entire ensemble. The piece's big, swooping gestures come across like the tempestuous motions of a single, giant being, and, with a prominent gong part underscoring bird-like thickets of sound, the ghost of Messiaen is not far away."