ANDREW DOWNES – an obituary

Andrew Downes, a vibrant presence in the musical life of the Midlands and beyond, passed away this morning at the age of 72. He had long withstood a series of crippling physical disabilities, but his creative juices as a composer of eminently approachable, deeply sincere music, never stopped flowing.

Born into an eminent musical family including the violist Herbert Downes (who played in the orchestra at the late Queen’s Coronation) and Frank Downes, French horn with the CBSO, Andrew studied music at Oxford, subsequently developing a dual career as counter-tenor and composer.

The latter calling won, and he was appointed Head of Composition and Creative Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire, a chair created especially for him. His music was always functional and well-constructed, and found followings not just in this country but also in the Czech Republic and the USA.

Our sympathies go to his widow Cynthia (who together with Andrew founded the Lynwood Music publishing company), his daughters Anna and Paula, both of whom have gone on to continue the Downes musical dynasty, and his grandchildren.

Christopher Morley

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