Dr Paul McMahon

B. Cr. Arts (Music) (USQ), Grad. Dip. Mus. (QCGU), M. Mus. (Perf.) (USyd), PhD (QCGU)
Deputy Head of School, Performance Convenor
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

  • Historical performance practice
  • Vocal performance and the pedagogy of singing
  • Music performance research


Paul McMahon is one of the country’s leading tenors & early music specialists. He holds a PhD & Graduate Diploma of Music (Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University), a Master of Music (Performance) (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) & a Bachelor of Creative Arts (University of Southern Queensland). In 2002, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for intensive study of Baroque repertoire under Marius van Altena at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Paul’s research embraces historical performance practice & the vocal music of George Frideric Handel & Johann Sebastian Bach within historical musicology & ERA-eligible creative practice. His recent publications include articles issued by the Journal of Music Research Online (Rhetorical vocal writing in Handel’s English oratorio Samson) & Musicology Australia (Observations upon the secular & sacred vocal music of Tudor & Jacobean England), as well as book chapters on performance practice in the music of Handel (Springer) & classical voice pedagogy (Australian Academic Press).

His creative practice includes regular performances as a soloist with symphony orchestras, chamber music groups & choirs throughout Australia, New Zealand & Asia. As one of Australia’s leading exponents of Baroque repertoire, Paul is highly respected for his interpretation of the Evangelist role in the Passions of J. S. Bach. This season, Paul appears as tenor soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor & Handel’s Messiah. Other solo appearances include the Evangelist in Bach’s Johannes Passion (Christ Church, South Yarra) & Matthäus-Passion (University of Queensland), Handel’s Solomon (Consort of St George’s Cathedral, Perth), Handel’s Messiah (Canberra Choral Society; Allegri Ensemble, Hobart) & Haydn’s Creation (Newcastle University Choir).

Paul is currently the Performance Convenor & Deputy Head of the School of Music. 


Available student projects

PhD supervision to completion as Principal Supervisor

Primary school music education: A study of teachers, composers and original works in a pedagogical context https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/101810?mode=full


The female voice in American musical theatre (1940-1955): Mary Martin and the development of integrated vocal style. https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/101933?mode=full



Return to top

Updated:  21 February 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers