John Downey served as Director of Music Theory and Composition for Music For Youth/MYSO for more than 40 years, and was an important and beloved member of the MYSO family until his passing in 2004. A Distinguished Professor of Music at UW-Milwaukee, he was an internationally-renowned composer who collaborated with the great artists of his time and, among many honors, was knighted by the French government.
Dr. Downey played a critically important role in the lives of thousands of students, several of whom have become noted composers, and was central to our organization and mission for many years. His students were an essential and joyous part of his storied career. He would be thrilled by the enthusiasm, creativity, and the seriousness of purpose displayed by the young composers of the John Downey Creation Project, to whom he would have referred as “my geniuses.”