Andrew Downes: English Composer

World Music Influences

Image from Paula Downes' animation of Andrew Downes song about Diwali from Songs of Autumn

Andrew Downes' School of Creative Studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire taught students about music from around the world, including Indonesian Gamelan, Indian Raga, Brazilian Samba and African Drumming, as well as rock music, gospel and jazz. These different types of music have really influenced his own compositions.

Centenary Firedances, was written for a gigantic Fireworks display at Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham for the celebration of the Centenary  of Birmingham in 1989. In this first movement you can hear the influence of Brazilian Samba.



The third movement features an Irish bodran drum and an Irish folk-like modal melody, based on the Dorian mode.



Symphony No.3, 1st movement has influences of African Drumming:



The 3rd movement of his Symphony for Wind Band features a Native American Flute. Andrew purchased this flute when he was travelling in New Mexico and was inspired by the music, poetry, and the culture of worshipping nature and caring for every tree, rock and animal:

See more about the Native American Influences on the music of Andrew Downes.



String Quartet No.3 has influences of Indian Raga. You can clearly hear the three elements (sitar, tampura and tabla) shown in the first video:


Now listen to these Indian elements in an excerpt from Downes' string quartet:

Have a look at Andrew Downes' Songs of Autumn, Songs of the Skies, and Ballads for Christmas, The Dancers of Huai-nan and Native American Culture for more world music influences.

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