Kinnane Scholar reignites musical expression for UQ Music Community

23 Oct 2018

Internationally acclaimed scholar and keyboard specialist Professor Neal Peres Da Costa presented the Annual Kinnane Lecture for the UQ School of Music last week as recipient of the 2018 Kinanne Scholar in Residence.

We invite you to listen to the lecture via the podcast below:

A digital copy of the PowerPoint slides can be downloaded here.

Held last Wednesday (October 17) in the Steele Building and Global Change Institute, the lecture was part of a week-long residency, where Professor Da Costa inspired students by sharing his discoveries in research related to the performance practices of the 18th and 19th centuries.

He revealed the fundamentally creative role that performers of classical music should and can embrace.

Professor Da Costa’s distinguished record of performance around the world is bolstered by extraordinary research in the field known as Historically Informed Performance. His lecture demonstrated how informed performance is crucial to developing expressive and meaningful interpretation.

The event attracted a large audience of music students and interested members of the public, who were treated to an expanded understanding of how classical performers in the 18th and 19th centuries performed with a kind of freedom and flexibility more reminiscent of jazz performers in the 20th century.  

Drawing on extensive source material such as treatises and correspondence between composers and performers from past eras, Da Costa’s research gives classical musicians permission to explore and expand the boundaries of musical expression.

Professor of Historical Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney University, Da Costa has previously held posts at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and Trinity College, London.

A world-recognised authority on 19th-century piano performing practice, his book Off the Record: Performing Practices in Romantic Piano Playing - published by Oxford University Press - has been hailed internationally as a book no serious pianist should be without.

He regularly appears with leading ensembles both in Australia and overseas, and is a founding member of one of Australia’s leading period instrument ensembles, Ironwood.

Da Costa brought this extensive experience to bear on a whole week of activities at the UQ School of Music as part of the Kinnane Residency. He worked in a range of settings, including a memorable workshop with the entire BMus (Hons) cohort where he helped students develop their own musical research projects.

UQ School of Music Head Dr Liam Viney said a major part of the residency involved intensive daily rehearsals with vocal and instrumental students in preparation for a major performance at St. John’s Cathedral of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Vivaldi’s Gloria on October 19.

“By performing onstage with the students as conductor, Da Costa gave them the opportunity to absorb his musical expertise in a living, breathing context.”

The 2018 Kinnane Lecture encapsulated all of these themes, and Da Costa closed with thoughts about the impact of 'informed performance' on music today and the vital role that our academies play in supporting scholarship in creative work.