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Biography (long)

Lara Poe is a Finnish-American composer who is currently based in London.  She has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Oulu Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Chamber Choir, Sakari Oramo, Anu Komsi, Virpi Räisänen, Malla Vivolin, Eija Kankaanranta, Juulia Salo, Jonathan Radford, Kalle Hakosalo, Laura Farré Rozada, among others.  Her works have been performed across a wide range of venues, including LSO St. Luke’s, the Dimenna Center in New York, Ozawa Hall and the Linde Center in Tanglewood, Helsinki’s Musiikkitalo, Brahms Saal of the Musikwerein in Vienna, Snape Maltings, the Sala Thalia in Sibiu, Romania, the Sibelius Hall in Lahti, and the Madetoja Sali in Oulu.  Poe will be the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s theme composer for the 2024/2025 season.


On August 25, 2024, a new song cycle by Poe (titled Laulut Maaseudulta / Songs from the Countryside) will premiere at the BBC Proms, with Anu Komsi as soloist, and Sakari Oramo conducting the RCM and Sibelius Academy orchestras. Laulut Maaseudulta will then have a second performance at the Helsinki Festival a week later, on September 1, 2024. Poe is also one of the Korsholm Festival’s Theme Composers in summer 2024.


Recent engagements include a song cycle for the mezzo-soprano Virpi Räisänen, which was a co-commission between the Oulu Symphony and Lahti Symphony orchestras, as well as a commission for the Helsinki Chamber Choir, which will premiere in 2025, and was funded by the Finnish Composers Society’s Sibelius Fund. In September 2020, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk, premiered Poe's orchestral piece Kaamos, which was written for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra Nursery Garden Initiative.  While taking part in this project, Poe received mentoring from Sebastian Fagerlund. Kaamos has since gone on to win a BMI Student Composer award, was selected by YLE Radio Finland to represent Finland at the International Rostrum of Composers 2021 in Belgrade, Serbia, and was nominated for a 2021 Ivors Composer Award in the Large Scale Composition category.  

Poe received the Patricia Plum Wilde fellowship to study at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2019 and represented Finland at Ung Nordisk Musik 2019 in Piteå.  She was also a 2018-2019 participant in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Scheme, where she worked under the guidance of Colin Matthews and Christian Mason.  Earlier engagements include participating in ICon Arts’ residency in Transylvania in 2018 with Joshua Fineberg, and taking part in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme with Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews in 2017.  

Poe has received recognition in several competitions, most recently receiving a BMI Composer Award in 2021 and the Theodore Holland Intercollegiate Composition Prize in 2020.  In 2017 she was the first female winner of the William Schuman Prize in the BMI Student Composer Awards, and in 2016 Poe won the American Prize in Chamber Music Composition, Student Division.  While studying at Boston University, Poe received both the Wainwright Prize and the Department of Music Theory and Composition Award.  She was also inducted into the honor society Phi Kappa Lambda.  At the RCM, Poe won the RCM Concerto Competition in 2018 and her orchestral piece Taivaanranta was subsequently performed at the RCM Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, conducted by Martin André.

Poe is currently studying for a Ph.D. at King’s College London, under the supervision of Sir George Benjamin.  She began her studies at the New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory School, studying with Rodney Lister, although she moved to Finland for a few years and studied with Paavo Korpijaakko while there.  She then studied with several teachers – Martin Amlin, Richard Cornell, Joshua Fineberg, Alex Mincek, and Ketty Nez, during her undergraduate studies at Boston University.  Following her bachelor’s studies, Poe received a master’s degree with distinction from the Royal College of Music, London, where she studied with Kenneth Hesketh, after which she also pursued an ArtDip at the RCM, studying with Hesketh and Simon Holt.  She is represented by Blom Music Management and published by Fennica Gehrman.

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