Larissa Maestro is an in-demand multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer, and arranger, born in Ames, IA and raised in Ithaca, NY. She attended Boston's Berklee College of Music before moving herself and her music to Nashville, TN.
Over the past 10 years, Larissa's resume has become broad and varied, including experience conducting chamber orchestras, performing lead roles in musical theatre, creating string arrangements for recordings, and voice over work for games. She has written musical content for national ad campaigns, performs regularly with Nashville's popular 90s cover band My So-Called Band, and has organized fundraising events for YEAH Rock Camps, Hurricane Haiyan Relief, and The Oasis Center of Nashville. Her songs have been featured on TV shows on HBO, FX, Hulu, and Nickelodeon.
Larissa began music lessons at the age of 5, and throughout her childhood would experiment with many instruments (among them the piano, flute, bassoon, and violin). She eventually found an affinity for the cello, and has not put it down since starting lessons in elementary school. She studied the cello with Sera Smolen, and then Christine Lowe-Diemecke at the Ithaca Talent Education School, arguably the first and most famous Suzuki education program in the country, until graduating in 2001.
During her time at Berklee, Larissa studied with Grammy award-winning cellist Eugene Friesen, who encouraged her to use the cello as a songwriting tool. It was there that she began practicing to join the ranks of the few singing cellists, developing skills that would later prove useful, if ever so specific.
When her father, a now retired Cornell University professor, began designing and building instruments, Larissa began to incorporate them into her arsenal. In his workshop, Cliff Scherer re-imagined the instruments of the Philippine Rondalla (banduria, octavina, laud), and created different permutations of the mandocello and ukulele. These sounds are now an integral part of her own band project, Poly, a collaboration with musical kindred spirits Eleonore Denig and Dan Sommers. Poly released an EP, "3 Songs by Poly" in 2012. Their full length album of adorable jazz/pop standard inspired songs about animals and old movie stars was released in March of 2016, and is called "Let's Have an Adventure!".
In 2016, Larissa co-founded the Nashville Concerto Orchestra with Roger Wiesmeyer (of the Nashville Symphony), a volunteer-based community orchestra that explores the vast concerto repertoire, provides opportunities for soloists, conductors, composers, and musicians of all levels of experience, and brings classical music to the diverse communities of Nashville.
"["Dream Country" was] fearlessly produced by Nashville multi-instrumentalist-composer-arranger Larissa Maestro, the star-themed album spans a number of musical styles from cool jazz to pure pop heaven to rooted rock." -Huffington Post
"Maestro may be new to the theatre stage, but she brings such emotion and passion to Kim that at times her entire body shakes with Kim’s anger or fear. Her doe-eyed and innocent appearance makes her a perfect match for the role." -ArtsNash.com
"Cellist, guitarist, singer and bandurria player Larissa Maestro played four sets this weekend. Four! She provided vocals and/or instrumentation for Jasmin Kaset, Uncle Skeleton, Caitlin Rose and My So-Called Band (How could you have "Something in the Way" without cello?) and for that, we commend her. I also hear that she's recently had some vocals featured in a seasonal Old Navy commercial or two. Hey Maestro! Take a break every once in a while. What are you, trying to live up to your surname or something?" -Nashville Scene
"As much as our inner snotty teenage punk hates us for it, we really dig Poly. Maestro, Eleonore Denig and Dan Sommers have managed to weave together something that is poppy on a primordial level. It's pure, uncut, '60s-style chamber pop, fraught with references to Cary Grant and covers of Henry Mancini and Buddy Holly songs." -Nashville Scene