Regarded for thoughtful interpretations, compelling execution, and depth of understanding, cellist Eli Lara has been praised for creating “a sense of complete awe.” As an ensemble and solo musician, she has performed across North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. Dr. Lara is a member of the Esterhazy String Quartet and cello professor at the University of Missouri School of Music. Lara graduated from Yale University with an undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and an M.M. in cello performance. A recipient of the C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellowship, she completed her D.M.A. at The Juilliard School. Her primary teachers include Joel Krosnick, Aldo Parisot, Ole Akahoshi, and Stephen Kates. Awarded the Richard F. French Prize, Eli traveled to Prague and Vienna to study the string quartet manuscripts of Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff and was subsequently invited to present her research at an international conference at Arizona State University. She previously taught at Austin Peay State University.
Lara is a founding member of Trio Séléné with Mingzhe Wang and Ilya Poletaev. The trio’s recording of works for clarinet, cello, and piano by Fauré, Zemlinsky and Spanish composer Fernando Buide (commissioned by Séléné) was released in spring 2018 on the Summit label. Trio Séléné has performed at Yale, Columbia, Rutgers, Michigan State, Oberlin, and the University of Missouri.
Dedicated to promoting contemporary music, Lara has performed and/or premiered new works in numerous concerts and festivals including at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Berklee College of Music, Mizzou International Composers Festival, MoxSonic, National Sawdust, and Summergarden at the New York Museum of Modern Art. She is a member of Khemia Ensemble a mixed chamber group specializing in contemporary and multimedia performances.
Lara has appeared on NPR, at major venues such as New York's Alice Tully Hall and London's Wigmore Hall and at festivals including Birdfoot (LA), Kneisel Hall (ME), Sarasota (FL), Bridge (MN), Napa Valley (CA), Banff, Festival Pablo Casals (France), and international music festivals in Amazonas and Pará (Brazil). Lara performed as co-principal of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, guest principal of the Paducah Symphony, and in the Nashville Opera Orchestra; while in the Nashville area, she also worked frequently as a studio recording musician. Highlights include recording with Willie Nelson as well as video games for Insomniac, Oculus Rift, and Electronic Arts including Madden 16. Lara has performed with the KC Lyric Opera and is a frequent performer with the Odyssey Chamber Music Series.