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Michael Downes


"Michael Downes was very informative and very easy to listen to"


"Superb lecturer"


- Recent ACE travellers on a tour with Michael Downes


Michael Downes, MA, MPhil, DPhil, is a conductor, writer and lecturer with a particular interest in opera. He studied English and Music at King’s College, Cambridge and completed a doctorate on the music and ideas of Debussy at the University of Sussex. He has lectured for most of the UK’s leading opera companies and writes programme notes for organisations including Wigmore Hall and Snape Maltings. He collaborated with Nike Wagner, great-granddaughter of Richard, on the English version of her book about her family’s history, and has written books both with and about the British composer Jonathan Harvey; current writing projects include books about Wagner and Elgar. Following two years as Director of Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Michael has occupied the same post at the University of St Andrews since 2008. The following year he became musical director of St Andrews Chorus, now Scotland’s largest choral society, and founded Byre Opera, with whom he has conducted operas by Britten, Janacek, Tchaikovsky, Handel and Debussy, among others. He recently led the University’s project to build the £15m Laidlaw Music Centre, which opened this year.

Michael-Downes Conductor, writer and lecturer Michael Downes

Tours with Michael Downes

East Neuk Festival
East Neuk Festival | June 2024
25th Jun - 1st Jul 2024Tour Director: Michael Downes£2495

Mahler Festival in Amsterdam (second departure)
Mahler Festival in Amsterdam (second departure) | May 2025
13th May - 19th May 2025Tour Director: Michael Downes£5295

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