Scholar publishes world first research in music performance

4 July 2012

Dr Neal Peres Da Costa from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music has discovered an expressive style of playing late-romantic piano at odds with the more "precise" and "clean" style to which modern audiences are accustomed.

In Off the Record, his first monograph published by Oxford University Press, launched this week, he muses "I realised there is a significant gulf between how we play classical and romantic music now and how it was played back then."

His research focussed on recordings of works by composer/performers Johannes Brahms, Camille Saint-Säens, Carl Reinecke, Theodor Leschetitzky and other virtuosi pianists of this musically dynamic era.

Peres Da Costa, who recently presented some of his findings at the International Brahms Conference in the United States, said the way the music was played in past eras is "confronting to the modern aesthetic, which is all about precision and accuracy and being clean and tidy."

Dr Karl Kramer, Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, will speak at the book's launch.

"The outstanding research undertaken by Dr Peres Da Costa," said Dr Kramer, "is a significant milestone for Sydney Conservatorium, placing it with Stanford University and the University of Leeds at the forefront in reappraising the performing practises of the old masters."