Wednesday, September 27, 2017


William Dooley – piano and violin
Musicians from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the Canberra Wind Symphony
Wesley Music Centre, Forrest 23 September

Reviewed by Len Power

For a 12th birthday present, not many of us would have been given a concert to perform sonatas and symphonies we’d composed.  Young Canberra composer/performer, William Dooley, got exactly that as well as a nearly full house to perform to.

Twelve year old William Dooley, who plays piano and violin, has been enthusiastically composing since the age of six.  His concert gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his ability on piano and violin playing works he has composed himself.

In addition, a number of leading musicians from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Canberra Wind Symphony formed an ensemble to play a couple of his compositions.  The group consisted of Barbara Jane Gilby and Timothy Wickham (violins), Iska Samson (viola), Alex Voorhoeve (cello), Sarah Nielsen (flute), Richard Mason (clarinet), Emily Leong and Michael Dooley, (William’s father) on piano.  That such an eminent group of musicians was prepared to play William’s music speaks for itself.

Colourfully introduced by his young brother, Anthony Dooley, William – resplendent in Mozart-style costume and wig - played his ‘Sonata No. 1 in C Major’.  This was followed by the Ensemble with his ‘Symphony No. 1 in A Major’.  Changing over to violin, William was joined by his father, Michael, on piano with ‘6 Little Pieces For Violin & Piano’.  Emily Leong and Michael Dooley alternated on piano with the lengthy ‘Piano Sonata No. 2 in C minor’ and the Ensemble returned with Michael Dooley on piano playing William’s ‘Waltz in C minor’.

Here was a serious young musician displaying great promise in both playing and composition.  Obviously his expertise with his instruments should continue to mature and it will be even more interesting to hear his compositions as he develops his own unique voice.

This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition of 24 September.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7’s new ‘On Stage’ program on Mondays from 3.30pm and on ‘Artcetera’ from 9.00am on Saturdays.