MYSO is proud to collaborate with one of America’s premier new music ensembles, Present Music, as we bring world premiere student compositions to performance. In memory of Dr. John Downey, both a visionary composer and an inspiring man, MYSO musicians are invited to have the opportunity to meet with a professional who guides them from the early structural and conceptual issues of composition through the final printing and rehearsals of their work. The John Downey Creation Project provides MYSO ensembles, as well as MYSO composers, important and exciting experience by undertaking the many challenges of new music.
John Downey served as Director of Music Theory and Composition for Music For Youth/MYSO for more than 40 years and was a very important and beloved member of the MYSO family until his passing in 2004. Dr. Downey, a Distinguished Professor of Music at UW-Milwaukee, was an internationally renowned composer who collaborated with the great artists of his time and, among many honors, was knighted by the French government. Among many pieces performed by musicians all over the world, he wrote a number of works for Music For Youth/MYSO, as his MYSO students were an essential and joyous part of his career. Professor Downey played a critically important role in the lives of thousands of students, several of whom have become noted composers. He was absolutely central to our organization and mission for many years.
We are confident that Dr. Downey would be thrilled by the enthusiasm, creativity and the seriousness of purpose displayed by these young MYSO composers, to whom he would have referred as “my geniuses.”