HINDSIGHT is a project from pianist Lara Downes, celebrating the Centennial of the passing of the 19th Amendment.
Featuring a new piano concerto composed for Downes by Paola Prestini, paired with the Piano Concerto in D Minor by pioneering composer Florence Price, HINDSIGHT looks back — with the 20-20 vision of hindsight — at women’s journeys through an American century.
This project is co-commissioned by the Ravinia Festival, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Oregon Bach Festival.
HINDSIGHT recognizes the frailty of progress, and the inevitable balance of struggle and triumph along the way. The 19th Amendment was a decisive step in an ongoing march towards equality, a struggle that secured voting rights for African American women nearly half a century later, and still pursues full economic and social equity for all women in our own time.
Downes performs Florence Price’s soaring and exuberant Piano Concerto in D Minor in tribute to the voices of women of color, whose fight for freedom and equity has been a constant of the American condition - the pioneers whose courage reaches ahead of their own time to lift up future generations in the ongoing struggle for equal rights.
Paola Prestini’s new concerto Hindsight: Let Me See the Sun is about the human impulse to remain hopeful, and what it means to struggle towards clarity and light. Prestini’s own identity informs the language, as an immigrant artist who balances the various impulses and needs within her own spirit. The work is structured as a dialogue between piano and orchestra, at times contentious and at times unified, coalescing at the end into a single whistling line. The simplicity of the last sung line “Let Me See the Sun” represents the optimism and fragility contained in the voices calling out every day in pursuit of multiple forms of equity. Folk music, virtuosity, harsh dissonance and vocal simplicity are infused in the work.
HINDSIGHT: Let Me See the Sun (reference excerpt)