Lara Poe is a Finnish-American composer who is currently based in London. Poe has worked with musicians such as London Symphony Orchestra, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the JACK quartet, the Semiosis Quartet, Kalle Hakosalo and Duo km2, Duo Cello Jaya, Laura Farré Rozada, Aija Reke, Jonathan Radford, and the Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra. 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. Recent engagements projects include a large-scale song cycle for the mezzo-soprano Virpi Räisänen, which is a co-commission between the Oulu Symphony and Lahti Symphony orchestras.
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.