Programme for a performance of Andrew Downes' Concerto for Two Pianos, St James's Church, Picadilly, 1999
27th November 1997
Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham
Duo Scaramouche, Filippo Antonelli and Malvina Renault
Avison Chamber Orchestra
Conductor - Steven Lloyd
An account by Andrew's wife and publisher, Cynthia Downes, posted on October 10th, 2021
CONCERTO FOR TWO PIANOS AND STRING ORCHESTRA Opus 61 (1997)
An introductory paragraph to set the scene for Andrew’s first Double Concerto is necessary:
In 1994 Andrew was contacted by the 2 Pianos Duo Scaramouche, Filippo Antonelli and Malvina Renault, who wanted to organise concerts in Conservatoires in the UK and set up liaisons. Andrew was the first to respond to them and organised a recital for them in his School of Composition and Creative Studies. Andrew built up a great relationship with the Duo. They performed his Sonata for 2 Pianos in Great Britain, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye Paris (Malvina’s home city), and on Radio ‘France Musique’. In Italy (Filippo’s home country), they played the Sonata for 2 Pianos on radio, and on TV in a full-length programme filmed at the Chiesa Saint Andrea, Barletta, featuring an interview with Andrew.
After the Italian performances, Andrew was told by Filippo that the Bishop of Naples would like him to write a work for the Duo Scaramouche with Strings for a concert in celebration of the Restoration of the Cathedral of Barletta. Very tragically an earthquake hit Barletta shortly afterwards and caused bad damage to the Cathedral.
Consequently the world premiere of Andrew’s Concerto took place in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham on November 27th, 1997. The Duo Scaramouche were accompanied by the Avison Chamber Orchestra from Andrew’s School of Composition and Creative Studies. The conductor was Steven Lloyd.
Advertising before the premiere:
UCE Newsline article:
Programme for the premiere:
ISM Journal article:
Birmingham Post Review:
In March 1998, Andrew organised a trip with the Avison Chamber Orchestra to Paris, to perform the Concerto with the Duo Scaramouche in the Salle Cortot. The players in the Orchestra had a great time and still talk about it to this day.
Andrew's notes for the trip:
Andrew in his hotel:
Andrew and conductor Steve Lloyd:
Andrew enjoying Parisian food!
Programme for the performance:
ISM Journal Article:
The first London performance, by the Duo Scaramouche with Symphonia UK, conducted by Steven Lloyd, took place at St James, Piccadilly, in August 1999. Our two daughters Anna and Paula played in the Orchestra! One of my best friends came with her husband to hear the concert. My friend didn’t know Andrew’s music but she said after the performance: “It must be wonderful to give so much pleasure to so many people with your music.” A video recording was made of this concert and can be viewed on YouTube.
Correspondence with Filippo:
Duo Scaramouche promotional materials:
Above: letter from the Director of the Conservatoire of Aubervilliers, Paris, thanking us for the copies music by Andrew which we donated to their Library.
Programme for the London performance:
Delivery of the video of the performance (now available on YouTube):
The work has been broadcast many times on Musicians Page Radio, Los Angeles, USA. I sent them the recording of the London performance.
During Andrew Downes' 70th birthday year, all 3 movements from the video recording were broadcast online, in August 2020.
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