Dr. Kenneth Downie

Dr. Kenneth Downie was born to a Salvation Army family in Scotland, spending his formative years in Greenock. He received his early musical education at home and through The Salvation Army, but it was when he arrived at Greenock High School, a place of musical excellence under the then head of music Alistair Massey, that his talent really emerged and he began to consider music as a career option. When the family moved to England in the early 60s, he went on to study at the Royal Manchester College of Music, then at Durham University, and much later at Salford. He holds the degrees of BA, and DMA in composition.

After some years as a school teacher in Lancashire and Dorset, Kenneth left his post as Head of Music at Poole Grammar School and went into the jewellery business, in which he worked for almost 30 years. An invitation from Stephen Cobb to join The Salvation Army’s music department in London as a consultant led to a gradual return to working in his first, and favoured area of expertise. Soon after he established Kantaramusik, with his wife Patricia, a fellow Salvationist and professional musician, for the distribution of his non-Salvation Army works. Demand for these works had grown through his association with contesting bands, starting with his six-year tenure as Composer in Residence for the Yorkshire Building Society Band, under Professor David King.

In recent years he has provided test pieces for the British Open, British National and European Band Championships, as well as those of Switzerland, Holland, New Zealand and America. He now has over 200 compositions published by various publishing companies, including BrookWright Music.

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