Monday, June 17, 2019


National Capital Orchestra
Musical Director: Leonard Weiss
Andrew Rumsey, piano
The Q Theatre, Queanbeyan 16 June

Reviewed by Len Power

You could easily be mistaken for thinking that the program cover photo for the latest National Capital Orchestra concert was an advertisement for the next James Bond movie.

Dashing young pianist, Andrew Rumsey, was in town to perform the world premiere of a first piano concerto by local composer, Michael Dooley.  The musical partnership between Michael Dooley and Andrew Rumsey spans several years with recordings and performances internationally of Dooley’s works.  It was Rumsey who requested a piano concerto from Michael Dooley.

A brand new handcrafted Shigeru Kawai Concert Grand Piano was provided by Kawai for this concert.  Only twelve of these instruments are made each year.

According to the program notes, Andrew Rumsey requested an acknowledgement in Dooley’s composition of the piano concertos by Rachmaninov and Saint-SaŃ‘ns.  Dooley stated that the piece is a representation of the spiritual concepts of grace and truth.

It’s a very accessible work with attractively wistful and romantic melodies.  The second movement was especially enjoyable.  Written in commemoration of Dooley’s parents, both of whom influenced his love of music, it’s beautifully composed and quite moving.  The final movement is highly spirited with a notable brightness and feeling of optimism.

The playing by Andrew Rumsey was highly accomplished and very enjoyable.  The orchestra, under the baton of Leonard Weiss, also gave a strong performance, especially the energetic final movement.  The performers and the composer, who was in the audience, were given a standing ovation at the conclusion.

It was followed by an excellent encore solo by Rumsey which displayed the high quality of the piano as well.

Left to right: Michael Dooley, Leonard Weiss and Andrew Rumsey

After interval, the orchestra presented Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2.  This hour long work is quite a challenge and the National Capital Orchestra gave it a fine performance filled with colour, romance and energy.  The third movement adagio was played with great sensitivity and the final movement was especially exciting and well-played.

Photos by Peter Hislop
Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.