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Meet the Moderator

Charles T. Downey at the piano, 2003, © Albright Creative Imagery
Charles T. Downey at the piano, 2003
Photo © Joe Albright, Albright Creative Imagery

Charles T. Downey

E-mail: ionarts at gmail dot com

Born near Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in the great state of Michigan. Began studying piano at the age of 15. Received Bachelor of Music in Piano at Michigan State University. Moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue graduate studies in musicology. Received M.A. and Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America, with research specialization in medieval music (M.A. thesis, "Breton Chant Notation in France and Northern Italy: A Comparative Study of Offertories in Chartres, Bibl. mun., 47 and Ivrea, Bibl. cap., LX") and French Baroque ballet and opera (dissertation, "Musical-Dramatic Works Derived from Ariosto and Tasso in the City of Paris, 1600–1800").

Lives in Washington, D.C., teaching music and art history, singing professionally with the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Moderator of Ionarts since 2003, Classical Music Contributor for DCist since 2005 (with occasional pieces on art, film, and dance), Freelance Classical Music Critic for the Washington Post since 2008.


'Lucretia': Death and Depravity, Well Sung (Washington Post, July 13, 2009)

Alan Curtis Signs Almost Definitive 'Alcina' (Ionarts, July 3, 2009)

Summer Opera: Wolf Trap's Coozey 'Così' (Ionarts, July 2, 2009)

Out of Frame: 'Tetro' (Ionarts, June 19, 2009)

Hammering the Clavier: Valentina Lisitsa (Washington Post, May 22, 2009)

Poor Boy Marries Rich Girl: Siegfried's American Dream (Ionarts, May 4, 2009)

Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, High Octane (Ionarts, April 9, 2009)

Mahler 9 with Marin Alsop (Ionarts, April 8, 2009)

New Work by Jessica Krash at NGA (Ionarts, March 20, 2009)

Revisiting the Department of the Interior (DCist, March 19, 2009)

Quatuor Ébène, Cool as Ebony (DCist, March 14, 2009)

A Zen Evening at the Freer (DCist, March 12, 2009)

Paying Homage to Lincoln in Song (Washington Post, March 10, 2009)

Mobtown Modern Presents 'Sequenzas' at Baltimore's Contemporary Museum (Washington Post, March 5, 2009)

Kissin Triumphant in Prokofiev and Chopin (Ionarts, March 4, 2009)

Martin Bruns and the Traces of Hafiz (Ionarts, February 27, 2009)

Kurtágs Play Kurtág at the Library of Congress (Ionarts, February 10, 2009)

Mark Morris Makes Mozart Dance (DCist, February 2, 2009)

Yevgeny Sudbin's Spring Torrents (Ionarts, January 26, 2009)

Mariinsky Ballet Tilts at Windmills (DCist, January 14, 2009)

Out of Frame: 'Doubt' (Ionarts, December 29, 2008)

"Angeschliffen," trans. Albrecht Thiemann (Opernwelt, December 12, 2008)

Gabriela Montero Makes It Up (Ionarts, December 8, 2008)

'Norma' in Baltimore (Ionarts, November 21, 2008)

Alexandre Tharaud (Washington Post, October 27, 2008)

Enough Bang to Make You Whimper (Ionarts, October 6, 2008)

Bizet's 'Pearl,' Dusted Off (Washington Post, September 22, 2008)

Ludus Danielis (Ionarts, August 27, 2008)

Out of Frame: 'Elegy' (Ionarts, August 22, 2008)

Ariadne Marooned at Wolf Trap (Ionarts, August 18, 2008)

My Jerry Springer Moment (Ionarts, August 11, 2008)

Ionarts in Santa Fe: 'Adriana Mater' (Ionarts, July 30, 2008)

NSO & Vladimir Ashkenazy, Staying True to Sibelius (Washington Post, May 30, 2008)

Adès Leads the BSO (Ionarts, May 19, 2008)

Opera on DVD: 'Alice in Wonderland' (Ionarts, May 14, 2008)

Itzhak Perlman (Washington Post, May 6, 2008)


Ballet du Roy, ou de la Délivrance de Renault, Danced by the King of France on January 29, 1617. Versailles: Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, forthcoming.

With Greer Garden et al. Essays on the Ballet de Renault. Paris: Malaga Press, forthcoming.

With Keith Fleming†. "Some Multiple-Melody Communions with Texts from the Gospels." Études grégoriennes 33 (2005), 5–74.

"Ad imaginem suam: Regional Chant Variants and the Origins of the Jeu d'Adam." Comparative Drama 36 (2003): 359–90.

"The Breton Notation in Ivrea LX." Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 3 (1998): 187–93.

Report on "Chant and Palaeography" session. In Musicology and Sister Disciplines, Past, Present, Future: Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of the International Musicological Society, London, 1997, edited by David Greer (Part 3, "Reports on Study Sessions"). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

An Utrecht Antiphoner: Utrecht, Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit 406 (3.J.7). Printouts from an Index in Machine-Readable Form: A CANTUS Index. Ed. Ruth Steiner. Musicological Studies, no. LV/6. Ottawa: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 1997.

With Barbara Haggh, et al. Two Cambrai Antiphoners: Cambrai, Médiathèque municipale, 38 and Impr. XVI C 4. Printouts from Two Indices in Machine-Readable Form: A CANTUS Index. Musicological Studies, LV/4. Ottawa: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 1995.

With Keith Glaeske. "Text and Music for the Lamentations: A Comparison of Settings in Cambrai XVI and Graz 29." Medieval Perspectives 10 (1995): 86–100.


"The Ballet de la délivrance de Renault as a Document of French Courtly Life." Meeting of American Musicological Society, Capital Chapter, 2 October 2004.

"The Ballet de la délivrance de Renault in history: participants, contemporary accounts." Eleventh Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, Manchester, England, 15 July 2004.

"Dancing or Singing with One Bare Foot: A Magic Ritual on the French Stage." Symposium on Opera, Catholic University of America, Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, 25 February 1999.

"The Two Versions of the Ballet de la Délivrance de Renault." The American Musicological Society, National Meeting (Phoenix, Arizona), 1 November 1997.

"The Breton Notation in Ivrea LX." The International Musicological Society, Annual Meeting, Study Group "Cantus Planus," as part of the session "Chant and Paleography" (London, England), 18 August 1997.

"Let Him Kiss Me with the Kiss of His Mouth: Late Votive Antiphons in Honor of the Virgin Mary." The 31st International Congress on Medieval Studies (Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan), 9 May 1996.

With Keith Glaeske. "Text and Music for the Lamentations: A Comparison of Settings in Cambrai XVI and Graz 29." Meeting of the Southeastern Medieval Association (Arlington, Virginia), November, 1994.

"J. S. Bach's Christmas Cantata Cycle of 1725–26: A Model for the Christmas Oratorio?" Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Capital Chapter (Richmond, Virginia), April, 1993.


Review of Esther (Tragédie de Jean Racine), edited by Anne Piéjus. In Music & Letters 87 (2006): 494–496.

Review of Jean-Paul C. Montagnier, Charles-Hubert Gervais: un musicien au service du Régent et de Louis XV (Paris: CNRS, 2001). In Music & Letters 84 (2003): 485–88.

Review of Catherine Massip, L'art de bien chanter: Michel Lambert (1610–1696) (Paris: Société Française de Musicologie, 1999). In Music & Letters 83 (2002): 449–53.

Review of John S. Powell, Music and Theatre in France, 1600–1680, Oxford Monographs on Music (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000). In Music & Letters 82 (2001): 616–19.

Program notes for recording, I Sing of a Maiden: A Mosaic of Motets to the Virgin Mary, Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Gothic Records G 49111 (2000).

Review of Andrew Hughes, Late Medieval Liturgical Offices (Toronto, 1994). In Plainsong and Medieval Music 4 (1995): 203–208.

Contributed computerized indices to offerings of Project CANTUS (some in collaboration with other scholars):
· Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale, 114
· Monza, Biblioteca capitolare, 15/79
· Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, lat. 1090
· Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, 611 (with Mette Kjaergaard)
· Utrecht, Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit, 406 (3.J.7)
· Tours, Bibliothèque municipale, 149
· Gottschalk Antiphonary (with Lisa Fagin Davis)
· Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, lat. 15181 and lat. 15182 (with Susan Kidwell)
· Vorau, Stiftsbibliothek, 287 (29)
· Graz, Universitätsbibliothek, 29 and 30
· Arras, Bibliothèque municipale, 465 (893)
· Florence, Arcivescovado, s.c.
· Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Conv. sopp. 560
· Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, n.a. lat. 1535
· Cambrai, Médiathèque municipale, Impr. XVI C 4 (with Barbara Haggh et al.)
· Vatican City, Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, Cappella Sistina 27