David Downes (Irish composer)
David Downes is a composer, pianist, producer, and musical director who is best known for being the co-founder and musical director of the all-female Irish ensemble Celtic Woman
Celtic Woman
Celtic Woman is an all-female musical ensemble conceived and assembled by Sharon Browne and David Downes, a former musical director of the Irish stage show Riverdance...



Downes was born in Dublin, Ireland. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

 where he studied Music and Composition. He has performed at venues around the world, including Boston Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 and Wembley Arena
Wembley Arena
Wembley Arena is an indoor arena, at Wembley, in the London Borough of Brent. The building is opposite Wembley Stadium.-History:...

, appearing with soloists James Galway
James Galway
- External links : IMGArtists.com 15 September 2008. AllAboutJazz.com 5 August 2008.*...

 and Alan Stivell
Alan Stivell
Alan Stivell is a Breton musician and singer, recording artist and master of the celtic harp who from the early 1970s revived global interest in the Celtic harp and Celtic music as part of world music.- Background: learning Breton music and culture :Alan was born in the Auvergnat town of Riom...

, the group Boyzone
Boyzone are an Irish boy band comprising Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating,Shane Lynch, and formerly Stephen Gately. Boyzone have 19 singles in the top 40 UK charts and 21 singles in the Ire charts. The group currently have 6 UK number one singles and 9 number one singles in Ireland with 12...

, and the Washington Symphony, Moravian Philharmonic, Hollywood Studio Symphony and National Symphony
National Symphony Orchestra
The National Symphony Orchestra , founded in 1931, is an American symphony orchestra that performs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.-History:...

 orchestras. He has made recordings with Moya Brennan
Moya Brennan
Moya Brennan, born Máire Ní Bhraonáin , also known as Máire Brennan , is an Irish folk singer, songwriter, harpist, and philanthropist who began performing professionally in 1970, when her family formed the band Clannad, and is now widely considered as the "First Lady of Celtic Music"...

, Clannad
Clannad are an Irish musical group, from Gaoth Dobhair, County Donegal. Their music has been variously described as bordering on folk and folk rock, Irish, Celtic and New Age, often incorporating elements of an even broader spectrum of smooth jazz and Gregorian chant...

, Michael Crawford
Michael Crawford
Michael Crawford OBE is an English actor and singer. He has garnered great critical acclaim and won numerous awards during his career, which covers radio, television, film, and stagework on both London's West End and on Broadway in New York City...

, Michael W. Smith
Michael W. Smith
Michael Whitaker Smith is a Billboard top ten Billboard Hot 100 recording artist and Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. He is one of the best-selling and most influential artists in Contemporary Christian music. Smith also has achieved a considerable amount of...

 and Bill Whelan
Bill Whelan
Bill Whelan, is an Irish composer and musician. He is best known for composing a piece for the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. The end result, Riverdance, was a seven-minute display of traditional Irish dancing that became a full-length stage production and spawned a worldwide craze...

.. He has acted as orchestrator for Riverdance on Broadway and Secret Garden most notably.

He joined Riverdance
Riverdance is a theatrical show consisting of traditional Irish stepdancing, notable for its rapid leg movements while body and arms are kept largely stationary. It originated as an interval performance during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, a moment that is still considered a significant...

 where he was Music Director on Broadway, as well as for the American and European touring companies. Later he and Sharon Browne formed 'Celtic Woman
Celtic Woman
Celtic Woman is an all-female musical ensemble conceived and assembled by Sharon Browne and David Downes, a former musical director of the Irish stage show Riverdance...

', which has toured across the world with platinum recordings in the USA, Australia, Japan, South Africa, and major following in Asia, Europe and South America.

He acted as musical director for Irish President Mary McAleese's Inauguration in 2004. He has performed for US Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Original Songs

Downes has written many original songs for Celtic Woman, including: The Soft Goodbye, Send Me a Song, One World, The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun, At the Céili, Sing Out!, Granuaile's Dance, The Lost Rose Fantasia, The Blessing, The Call, Green the Whole Year Round, Walking The Night and Tabhair Dom Do Lamh. The lyricists with whom he has collaborated most are Caitríona Ní Dhúill, Barry McCrea, Shay Healy and Brendan Graham.

Television, film and theatre

His credits include Thou Shalt Not Kill, The Enemy Within, The Hunt For Red Willie at the Peacock Theatre, Jeff Daniels' Escanaba In The Moonlight and The Shaughraun at the Abbey Theatre
Abbey Theatre
The Abbey Theatre , also known as the National Theatre of Ireland , is a theatre located in Dublin, Ireland. The Abbey first opened its doors to the public on 27 December 1904. Despite losing its original building to a fire in 1951, it has remained active to the present day...

in Dublin.. He produced opening and closing songs, as well as acting as choral arranger for the Disney movie Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure.


Celtic Woman albums have been credited platinum in many countries, and the DVDs of their TV concerts multi-platinum, in some cases, with notable popularity in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, France, Austria and South Africa.
In 2010 Downes was nominated for an EMMY award for Outstanding Musical Direction for a televised musical event. Other nominees included The Olympic Games-Opening Ceremonies (which won the EMMY), In Concert at the White House, The Kennedy Center Honours, and Andrea Bocelli and David Foster in concert.

External links

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