Custom Downey overture gains international fame

DOWNEY - An overture written and dedicated to the Downey Symphony Orchestra by Spanish composer and film scorer Oscar Navarro is gaining international recognition.Downey is a relatively small city southeast of Los Angeles, but it is close to the heart of Navarro who wanted to pay tribute to its musicians and Music Director Sharon Lavery. At the world premiere in 2011, the dynamic sounds and rhythms created to interpret an urban environment were showcased to full advantage by Downey's professional orchestra. Since then, the overture has come to the attention of other notable music groups. In January 2013 the Downey Overture was performed in London at the Royal School of Music by the RSM Film Orchestra. Five days later, the overture was performed in Valencia, Spain, for an audience of nearly two thousand at the Palau de la Musica. The Downey Overture is also on the program for the 2013 season at Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Pops in the western Massachusetts and one of the country's premier music festivals each year. H. Robert Reynolds from the Thornton School of Music, USC, will conduct the Young Artists' Wind Ensemble from the Tanglewood Institute. Board members of the Downey Symphonic Society said they are proud of the tribute to the orchestra, and the piece will likely be performed again. On May 24, Mayor Mario Guerra will lead a delegation to County Roscommon, Ireland, Downey's new sister city and birthplace of city founder John Gately Downey. Guerra said he is intrigued by the possibility of the overture being played in John Downey's Irish homeland. Since completing a graduate degree at USC for film scoring, Navarro has been composing for both the concert hall and movies. His most recent full-length film was The Mule, directed by Michael Radford (Il Postino), a comedy/drama about a soldier protecting a mule during the Spanish Civil War. Last November Navarro was honored for Best Classical Score by the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. The Downey Symphony Orchestra will present its final concert for the season on Saturday, April 6, 8 p.m. The program is "Berlioz to Brahms," with a performance by soprano Diana Newman. Tickets are available at the Downey Theatre Box Office at (562) 861-8211, or at the website:

********** Published: March 28, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 50