About Associate Professor Neal Peres Da Costa

Neal is particularly passionate about the study and application of historical performing practices in a variety of contexts. Devoted to the performance on, and teaching of historical instruments, he loves to enlighten students about the choices (both musical and technical) available to them in interpreting a wide range of repertoire.

Dr Neal Peres Da Costa is a Senior Lecturer and Chair of Early Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (University of Sydney), where he teaches early keyboards (clavichord, harpsichord, fortepiano, and chamber organ), directs the Conservatorium Early Music Ensemble and lectures in the area of historical performance. He is a highly-successful performing scholar with an extensive and distinguished discography. His research is focussed in the area of historical performing practice, with particular interest in early sound recordings and the implications of the comparison between these recordings and contemporaneous written texts.

Dr Neal Peres Da Costa is a Senior Lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (University of Sydney), where he teaches early keyboards, directs the Conservatorium Early Music Ensemble and lectures in the area of historical performance. He is a performing scholar who has given concerts around the world with distinguished soloists and ensembles. He co-founded the British-based ensemble Florilegium with which he toured extensively and made many award winning recordings. He performs and records regularly with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera and many other ensembles both national and international. His doctoral research focussed on the use of sound recordings of pianists from the turn of the twentieth century as a primary tool for appreciating Romantic and earlier expressive practices. The recordings reveal approaches to playing, which though once considered highly-artistic and indispensable, are now considered unfashionable. Comparison between these recordings and contemporaneous written texts also reveal the gulf that exists between theory and practice. Currently, Neal is revising his doctoral thesis for publication by Oxford University Press as a performing-practice text on Romantic piano playing. His teaching and performing are informed by his research and he has attracted and supervises postgraduate students researching in the area of performing practice. 

Areas of recent supervision include:

  • Performing practices in early nineteenth-century flute playing: ideals of temperament, intonation and articulation as discussed by Johann George Tromlitz
  • The application of the moderator stop on early pianos
  • The early bassoon: the influence of technical developments and performing practices on specific repertoire
  • Towards an appropriate performance style for the keyboard works of Girolamo Frescobaldi
  • The development of the Pièces de Clavecin genre in France: repertoire and performance practice
  • Debussy’s piano playing: evidence from early recordings and piano rolls

Selected publications

For information about publications see my academic profile