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 Australian Voice (Now touch the air softly: Reflections upon art songs in the recording studio), 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 as research includes regular engagements as 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 the Evangelist with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Bach's Matthäus-Passion, tenor soloist in Bach's Christmas Oratorio (Perth Concert Hall), Handel’s Messiah (Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle), Beethoven Symphony 9 (Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University), and Beethoven Mass in C and Choral Fantasia (Llewellyn Choir, Canberra), 

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


PhD supervision to completion as Associate Supervisor

A scholarly edition with exegesis of Niccolo Piccini's Dramma Giocoso: 'Il regno della luna' (1770): https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/141079


Master of Philosophy supervision to completion as Associate Supervisor

Historical performance practice of the prelude non mesure and its relationship to recording and performance: https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/148878


Current student projects

Current PhD supervision as Associate Supervisor

The Pianism of Ferruccio Busoni: recordings, reviews and aesthetics

Implementing the Australian Curriculum in Music: assessing its praxial potential in secondary schools in Canberra


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Updated:  29 January 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers