Andrew Downes Resume


‘Of remarkable craftsmanship and interest, his language is replete with that indefinable term, meaning.' Fanfare Magazine (USA)

‘Ranks today among the internationally acclaimed personalities' Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

‘Typically for this composer, it conveys a sense of some huge, pervasive spiritual force.' Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post

‘Downes has an impressive command of his art' Opera News (USA)

‘This is modern tonal chamber music at its finest.' The Horn Call (USA)

Andrew Downes was born in Birmingham, England, in 1950. He won a choral scholarship to St.John's College, Cambridge (in 1969), where he also specialised in composition; and in 1974 went on to study with composer Herbert Howells at the Royal College of Music, London. Between 1990 and 2005, he was Head of the School of Composition and Creative Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire. He now works as a freelance composer.
Andrew Downes' music has been performed throughout the world, in many leading concert halls and cathedrals, and has been broadcast on BBC Radios 2,3 & 4, BBC TV, Czech Radio, France Musique, Italian TV, Austrian Radio, Dutch Radio, Central Peking Radio, and several American radio stations. Over 20 CDs have been made of his music as well as a DVD of his opera Far from the Madding Crowd. His past commissions have included: The Marshes of Glynn for the Royal opening of the Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham UK in 1986; Centenary Firedances for the City of Birmingham's Centenary Festival of Fireworks and Music; an Overture for the UK Three Choirs Festival; songs for ‘Cantamus' Girls' Choir; song cycles for mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker* and tenor John Mitchinson for broadcast on BBC Radio 3; anthems for the BBC Radio 4 Daily Service; many works for flute choirs and flute orchestras which have been extensively performed throughout the USA; Concerto for Two Pianos for the Parisian Duo Scaramouche; Sonata for 8 Pianists for soloists from France, Italy and Britain; Mela Kamavardhani for performances by Indo-Jazz Fusions in Calcutta, Delhi and Bombay; Fanfare for Madam Speaker, for the Installation of the Rt Hon Betty Boothroyd MP as Chancellor of the Open University of the UK; Concerto for Two Guitars for Simon Dinnigan and Fred T.Baker with Strings from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Concert Overture ‘Towards a New Age' for the 150th anniversary of the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers, premiered by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; and Suite for Brass Sextet for the Czech Philharmonic Brass Sextet, premiered in the Dvorak Hall, Prague, in 2001.

In 2002, Andrew composed Concerto for 4 Horns and Orchestra for soloists Radek Baborak, Ondrej Vrabec, Stanislav Suchanek, Zdenek Divoky and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, who gave two performances of the work in the Dvorak Hall, Prague, in February and March 2002. In March 2003, the work was recorded for Czech Radio, and broadcast in 2004.

Recent projects have included Songs of Autumn and Songs of the Skies, (both commissioned by Symphony Hall, Birmingham, premiered in 2003 and 2005 respectively with 1200 children and players from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Central England Ensemble); the full length opera Far from the Madding Crowd premiered at the Thomas Hardy Festival in Dorchester, UK, in 2006; Songs of Love for Paula Downes and David Trippett, (premiered at University Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA in 2007); and Sonata for Violin, Horn and Piano for the Brahms Trio Prague (Monika Vrabcova, violin; Ondrej Vrabec, solo and principal horn, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and Daniel Wiesner, piano, who premiered the work in the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague in February 2008, and have now recorded it on the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Artesmon label. Andrew Downes is published by Lynwood Music. In addition, Faber Music includes his motet O Vos Omnes in a compilation of works entitled Thirty Choral Masterworks for Upper Voice Choir; and his Forest at Dawn for solo organ is included in The Millennium Organ Book, published by the Incorporated Association of Organists.

Updated:  May 9, 2009

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