- David Downes
- Born: 1967
- Fully Represented SOUNZ Composer
David Downes (b. 1967) is a New Zealand born composer/performer/film-maker. His compositions have included private and public commissions, theatre/film scores, orchestral works, electro-acoustic pieces, and songwriting. Since 1988 he has also made a considerable contribution to modern choreographic work in New Zealand with his contemporary dance scores.
Overall, David’s work, although disparate in both style and form, clearly draws its main influence from popular music but is strengthened by several years of classical piano training and a graduate degree in music composition. It shares a common ground of solid, often complex, rhythmic structures, and has been described as ‘intense, haunting and evocative’. As a performer (keyboards, vocals, guitar, drums, electronics), David has been involved in many shows and tours with bands and theatre productions. Most noteably these include a tour of China over nine months in 1996, performances at two southern hemisphere Womad festivals with Mahinarangi Tocker and a tour of the highly acclaimed Dance Opera Jerusalem for which he both composed the score and performed live as one of seven singers.
Having lived and worked in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and China, David has collaborated with musicians from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, the influence of which can be heard in many of his pieces.
David’s involvement with video/film developed as a natural extension to his interest in music and sonic art. His work in experimental music video, long form narrative filmmaking, animation and computer generated imagery has produced several award winning films including the 2000 digital feature ‘a small life’ and the 2004 animated short Generation. Inspired by the work and philosophies of artists such as Len Lye, fascinated with the language of metaphor and believing in the strength of the medium hybrid, David often looks to other disciplines in the process of creating and realising ideas. He also employs the, sometimes unusual, use of technology to investigate creative potentials. This investigation has sparked an ongoing design and construction of several instruments and noise devices which have been employed in various music projects. These include simple harmonic feedback drivers for amplified guitar, a battery of electromechanical percussion instruments and a midi/servo controlled, acoustic string instrument. A strange extension of these interests began in 2000 when he started to raise and train a magpie for the specific purpose of performing an original composition.Source: David Downes, July 2007