We’re excited to announce the second season of Amplify with Lara Downes! Produced in collaboration with KUSC, KDFC, NPR Music, and Lara Downes, Amplify with Lara Downes is a bi-weekly series of intimate and deeply personal video conversations with visionary Black artists and cultural leaders who are shaping the creative present and future.

You can watch each episode as they’re released right here.

Season Finale: Episode 12 with Ledisi

Episode 11 with Camille A. Brown

Episode 10 with Elaine Welteroth and Jonathan Singletary

Episode 9 with Will Liverman

Episode 8 with Randall Goosby

Episode 7 with Wynton Marsalis

Episode 6 with Tayari Jones

Episode 5 with Carl Rux

Episode 4 with Esperanza Spalding

Episode 3 with Regina Carter

Episode 2 with Rita Dove

Episode 1 with Kris Bowers



Created and hosted by pianist, artist/citizen and KUSC Resident Artist Lara Downes, and co-produced by NPR Music’s classical editor Tom Huizenga, this series invites viewers to experience revealing and open-hearted conversations reflecting on how artists are responding and creating in this time of profound challenge and change.

These video encounters are a clear representation of what Downes sees as, “the cusp of a new inclusion and diversity in classical music.” The one-on-one conversations are with cultural leaders who are forward-thinking and play a pivotal role in defining “a new era with bold vision, powerful mission and the inspiring energy of a transformative time.”

“It brings me great joy to hear from so many viewers that they are finding energy, inspiration and affirmation in these conversations,” says Downes. “Season 2 brings profound perspectives on life and art from a diverse line-up of guests including composers Kris Bowers and Jessie Montgomery, poet Rita Dove, violinist Regina Carter, and author Tayari Jones.”