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Wheelchair Dependent Composer Hosts Concert For Paraplegic Sports

Irwin Mitchell Sponsors 10-year Anniversary Concert


A Birmingham composer who is confined to a wheelchair after a hospital misdiagnosed his fractured spine as a urine infection is hosting a world premiere concert next month and will donate all proceeds to paraplegic sports.

Critically acclaimed international composer Andrew Downes, who has performed for the BBC and Royalty, will debut his Concerto for French Horn and Symphony Orchestra on Sunday 21 October to mark the tenth year of the Central England Ensemble which was founded by his daughter Anna, a violinist.
Sponsored by law firm Irwin Mitchell, who is helping Andrew in his legal battle for justice against the hospital trust that misdiagnosed him, all proceeds raised during the event held at Birmingham Town Hall will be donated to wheelchair sports and rehabilitation services.

The soloist will be Ondřej Vrabec, solo and principal horn of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and also in the programme is Walton’s Crown Imperial and Brahms’s Second Symphony.

More information on the event and tickets can be found at http://www.thsh.co.uk/event/central-england-ensemble-12

Andrew, a grandfather of three, had suffered from inflammatory back pain and a fused spine for many years, but had refused to let it hold him back in a highly successful career which saw him create 17 CDs, perform for royalty and be awarded a Professorship in Composition and Creative Studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra said Andrew ‘ranks today among the internationally acclaimed personalities and in a review Opera News said ‘Downes has an impressive command of his art - of sustaining an extended structure by use of linking motifs; of judging what works dramatically; of orchestration and of deploying his best ideas without overusing them.’

Andrew, who went back to work just 10 months after the fall, said: “The Paralympics highlights the extraordinary effect sport can have on people who use wheelchairs or are disabled in some way.

“Sport gives people courage, determination and purpose so I wanted to raise money for the British Paraplegic Association so they can continue to provide the facilities and support to help disabled people achieve remarkable success.

“I also hope the concert will remind people of Birmingham Town Hall's historic place at the heart of European classical music.

“Tickets are still available and we want to make sure it is a sell-out to raise as much money as possible.”

The Central England Ensemble brings together graduate musicians and other talented performers to play symphonic repertoire to the highest standard. Since their first appearance in 2001, every concert has featured a new piece by a local composer.

Timothy Deeming, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell represents Andrew and is currently liaising with Dudley Group Of Hospitals NHS Trust to get the musician the lifetime of care he requires to help him live as independently as possible through his continued rehabilitation.

He said: ““Andrew has shown incredible strength and resolution despite the disabilities he now faces as a result of the failures by Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust.

“His commitment to music is on the same level of the Paralympics athletes to sport that we are currently seeing during the games and we are proud to sponsor the concert to help raise funds for the British Paraplegic Association which will help create our athletes of the future.

“Irwin Mitchell is committed to being a socially responsible organisation and encourages its staff to take part in a variety of projects as part of a comprehensive community programme, that includes raising attainment in schools, supporting vulnerable groups and offering pro bono support to those who need it the most.”