I first met Anthony Doheny (born 1938) when I became a full-time student at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1975. He returned to Australia that year from the United States (where he had completed a doctorate at Stanford and taught in the Yehudi Menuhin Program at Neuva Day School for Gifted Children in Hillsborough, California) to take up a position at the ‘Con’ as Senior Lecturer of Violin. He was a Queensland boy, born in Rockhampton, and outrageously gifted in many ways. Violin and viola were his main instruments, but his teaching, piano playing and improvising are all highly distinguished. After the death of his wife Janet he left Queensland and entered the Conventual Franciscan Order in Melbourne in 1988, duly becoming Superior of the Order in Australia. During his years as a Franciscan friar, he started composing seriously and wrote a lot for piano, violin, viola and voice. He would often get up in the middle of the night to write down the germs of ideas before he forgot them. This happened with the Toccata for Piers Lane
. In June 1999 he heard my Hyperion recording of Strauss transcriptions and was, as he put it, ‘over the moon with delight’:
I felt like indulging in pure nonsense. I’ve always loved Czerny and I think the influence shows … my germ of an idea suggested something over the top and ridiculous, but much fun to play. A few nights later, around 3 a.m., inspiration seized again and I was fleshing it out via Sibelius on the computer. It made me laugh out loud, so much so that next morning the young friar in the neighbouring bedroom wanted to know why I was laughing in the middle of the night. As you can imagine, I was thought to be a little eccentric …
Leaving the Franciscan Order in 2005 and his teaching duties at Melbourne and Monash Universities, Doheny now lives in Silicon Valley, where he is a Lecturer in Music at Stanford University and teaches at the Mountain View Community School of Music and Arts.
from notes by Piers Lane © 2013