Downes, Ralph (William)

views updated

Downes, Ralph (William)

Downes, Ralph (William), English organist, organ designer, and teacher; b. Derby, Aug. 16, 1904; d. London, Dec. 24, 1993. He studied at the Royal Coll. of Music in London (1922–25), and then was an organ scholar at Keble Coll., Oxford. Making his way to the U.S., he was music director and organist at Princeton Univ. (1928–36). He then returned to London, where he became organist of Brompton Oratory and in 1948 resident organist of the London Phil. He was appointed a prof, at the Royal Coll. of Music in 1954. He designed many notable organs, including the instrument for London’s Royal Festival Hall. He publ. the vol. Baroque Tricks: Adventures with the Organ Builders (Oxford, 1983). In 1969 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

About this article

Downes, Ralph (William)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article