Quickly earning a reputation as a cutting edge musician of her generation, Lara Somogyi is exploring a new world of sound and having a blast along the way.
“This place has such a good mixture of a classical music scene and the entertainment industry with film, TV, and pop music,” says Somogyi of living in Los Angeles. “I’ve been here for about five years and I just love it.” She regularly works with pop artists, such as Camila Cabello at the 2018 American Music Awards show (top left) and the artist H.E.R. (middle). She counts her experience recording the score for The Lion King (2019) with film score conductor Hans Zimmer (right) as her biggest “pinch-me”
moment so far.
It’s hard not to get excited about harp music when you talk to Lara Somogyi. Her enthusiasm for the instrument and the music she plays is both genuine and infectious. Though still in her 20s, Somogyi has already set herself apart for her innovative use of technology—specifically fx pedals—in her playing. Born in Hawaii, Somogyi moved to Buffalo, N.Y., when she was young, and began studying harp at the Eastman Community Music School in Rochester with Nan Gullo. After graduating from the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, Somogyi landed in Los Angeles five years ago, and the city’s environment has proven to be perfect for Somogyi’s musical growth. She does everything from session work to orchestral playing, and has shared stages and recording studios with some of the pop world’s hottest stars and the film industry’s biggest names.
But the glitz and glamour of Hollywood is not why Somogyi does what she does. She has melded a centurys’ old instrument with cutting edge technology because she feels like she has no choice. “I couldn’t not do it,” she says. “It is so set in my musical soul, I couldn’t not explore the harp in this way.”
We caught up with Somogyi via Skype on a sunny Southern California morning to talk about music, technology, and shoes.
Harp Column: You’ve carved this niche out for yourself working with fx pedals and electronics, but you also have this classical background. How does your classical training inform the music that you’re doing today?
Lara Somogyi: It’s everything. Of course it set a really solid technical foundation, but also it really gave me a broader knowledge of different types of harmonies and sounds. Then I could take little bits that I wanted and implement them into the technology and fx pedals I use. Also, it gave me the tools to express on the harp in certain ways with the pedals. I would sound a lot different if I didn’t have that classical training.