Dr Paul McMahon

Portrait of Paul McMahon
Deputy Head of School
Performance Convenor
Senior Lecturer
Classical Voice
B. Cr. Arts(Music)(USQ), Grad. Dip. Mus.(QCGU), M. Mus.(Perf.)(USyd), PhD(QCGU)
+61 2 6125 5770

Paul McMahon is one of the country’s leading tenors, early music specialists and experienced studio teachers of voice. He holds a PhD and Graduate Diploma of Music (Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University), a Master of Music (Performance) (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and 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 performance practice and the vocal music of George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach within historical musicology and 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) and Musicology Australia (Observations upon the secular and sacred vocal music of Tudor and Jacobean England), as well as book chapters on performance practice in the music of Handel and classical voice pedagogy published by Springer and Australian Academic Press respectively.  

His creative practice includes regular performances as a soloist with symphony orchestras, chamber music groups and choirs throughout Australia, New Zealand and 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. Career highlights include Bach’s Matthäus-Passion under Roy Goodman, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung under Richard Hickox, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor under Masaaki Suzuki and Mozart’s Requiem under Manfred Honeck. Paul’s collaborations include recitals with the renowned pianists Bengt Forsberg and Kathryn Stott, the New Zealand String Quartet and the Australia Ensemble. He has appeared as soloist in the festivals of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and has given concerts for broadcast on ABC Classic FM and the MBS network. He was a member of The Song Company from 1997 to 2001, touring regularly with this ensemble throughout Australia, Asia and Europe. His extensive discography of over thirty commercial studio recordings includes the solo album of English, French and Italian lute songs entitled A Painted Tale; a CD and DVD recording of Handel’s Messiah; Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo,  Mozart’s Requiem and Idomeneo. His performances are documented in the Swoon series, various Christmas discs and the soundtrack to the feature film The Bank.

This season, Paul appears as tenor soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Handel’s Messiah. Other solo appearances in 2017 include the Evangelist in Bach’s Johannes Passion (Christ Church, South Yarra) and Matthäus-Passion (University of Queensland), Handel’s Solomon (Consort of St George’s Cathedral, Perth), Handel’s Messiah (Canberra Choral Society; Allegri Ensemble, Hobart) and Haydn’s Creation (Newcastle University Choir).

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

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

Book and book chapters

  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014). “Handel and the voice practitioner: Perspectives on performance practice and higher education pedagogy“ in Teaching singing in the 21st century. Scott D. Harrison & Jessica O’Bryan (eds). Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 263–286.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). “Classical voice pedagogy in Greater Newcastle: The singing teacher’s perspective.” In Perspectives on teaching singing: Australian vocal pedagogues sing their voices, Scott D. Harrison (ed.). pp. 66–82. Brisbane: Australian Academic Press.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2009). George Frideric Handel and Giovanni Battista Draghi: Two contrasting approaches to text setting in John Dryden’s A Song for St Cecilia’s Day, 1687. Köln: Lambert Academic Publishing.

Conference Publications (Peer-reviewed)

  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Dialogue and collective interaction: Informants upon the collaborative interpretation of Baroque performance practice. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science, Vienna (August, 2013).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Practitioner reflections on higher education pedagogy: Performance practice and the music of Handel. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference of Voice Teachers, pp. 147–156, Brisbane (July, 2013). ISBN 978-0-9922713-0-5.

Journal articles (Refereed)

  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Darkness and light: Handel’s rhetorical vocal writing in the English oratorio Samson. Journal of Music Research Online, Sydney: Music Council of Australia. http://www.jmro.org.au/index.php/mca2/article/view/198
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2015). Tudor and Jacobean England: Observations on secular and sacred vocal music. Musicology Australia. Vol. 37/ 1, Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, pp. 85-89.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2006). Draghi and Handel: Two contrasting approaches to John Dryden’s Song for St Cecilia’s Day, 1687. Australian Voice, Vol. 12, Journal of the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing, pp. 32–38.

Conference Presentations

  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Now touch the air softly: Reflections on art songs in the recording studio. International Symposium on Practice as Research, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong (December 2017).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2015). Handel’s musical and dramatic dialogue: Correlations between tonality and characterisation in Jephtha. 38th National Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia, Sydney (October 2015).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2015). Darkness to light: Reflections upon Handel’s rhetorical vocal writing in the English oratorio Samson. Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies 10th Biennial International Conference, Brisbane (July 2015).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014). Rhetorical devices in sacred and secular realms: The musico-dramatic structures of Bach and Handel. The Voice and the History of Emotions Performance Collaboratory, Sydney (October 2014).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014). The premiere of Alexander’s Feast and Cecilia, volgi un sguardo: Handel’s vocal writing for tenors John Beard and Carlo Arrigoni in 1736. 16th International Conference on Baroque Music, Salzburg (July, 2014). 
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Dialogue and collective interaction: Informants upon the collaborative interpretation of Baroque performance practice. International Symposium on Performance Science, Vienna (August, 2013).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Practitioner reflections on higher education pedagogy: Performance practice and the music of Handel. 8th International Conference of Voice Teachers, Brisbane (July, 2013).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2012). Baroque performance practice: Methodologies in conservatoire pedagogy. 3rd International Reflective Conservatoire Conference, London (March, 2012). Conference Reader ISBN: 978–0–9571888–1–5. http://rcconference2012.org.uk/attachments/papers/PaulMcMahon.pdf

Excellence in Research Australia Creative Work Portfolios

  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014–17). J. S. Bach: Affective delivery in sacred vocal music. FoR code: 190407.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014–17). Handel’s English oratorio, ode and cantata: Rhetorical delivery within recitative and aria forms. FoR code: 190407.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014–17). Expression and the singing voice: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. FoR code: 190407.
  •  McMahon, Paul G. (2008–13). J. S. Bach: Affective delivery in sacred vocal music. FoR code: 190407.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2008–13). Handel’s English oratorio, ode and cantata: Rhetorical delivery within recitative and aria forms. FoR code: 190407.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2008–13). Expression and the singing voice: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. FoR code: 190407.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2008–13). Vocal nuance in sacred and secular vocal works of the Baroque. FoR code: 190407.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2008–13). Vocal timbre and character in twentieth and twenty-first-century music. FoR code: 190407.

CD recordings (featured soloist)

  • McMahon, Paul G. (2009). David and Jonathan. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 3691).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2009). The First Nowell. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 3682).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2008). Exaltate Dominum. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 6290).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2008). Handel – Top 40. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 3335).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2007). Idomeneo. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 6350).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2007). Angels ever bright. Sydney: ABC Classics (442 9812).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2006). Danny Boy. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 9238).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2006). Ye Banks and Braes. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 8035).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2006). Pepusch Cantatas. Sydney: Salut Baroque (SAL004).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2006). Fairest Isle – The timeless music of Henry Purcell. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 5329).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2006). Eternity. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 160-7).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). Swoon Gold. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 7925).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). L’Orfeo. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 8030).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). Choral Spectacular. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 5706).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). Praise II. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 284-1).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). A Painted Tale. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 192-9).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2004). The Fairy Queen. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 2879)
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2004). An Introduction to Handel’s Messiah. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 289-0).
  •  McMahon, Paul G. (2004). Felix and Me. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 176-2).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2004). Silent Night. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 291-6).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2003). Classic. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 155-8).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2003). Semele. Sydney: ABC Classics (980 047-0).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2003). The Rise and Rise of Australian Rugby. Sydney: ABC Classics (476 122-9).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2002). Messiah. Sydney: ABC Classics (472601-2).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2002). Carmina Burana. Sydney: ABC Classics (472 481-2).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2002). Prayer for Peace. Sydney: ABC Classics (465 824-2).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2002). Glorious Night. Sydney: ABC Classics (472 600-2).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2001). Perfect Day. Sydney: ABC Classics (472 044-2).       
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2001). The Bank (Soundtrack). Sydney: ABC Classics (465 703-2).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2001). La Naissance de Venus. Sydney: ABC Classics (472 045-2).

DVD recordings (featured soloist)

  • McMahon, Paul G. (2003). Swoon—A Visual and Musical Odyssey. Sydney: ABC Classics (DVD 980047-6).
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2002). Messiah. Sydney: ABC Classics (DVD 472 604-9).

Selected performances (2005 – 2017)

  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Bach Matthäus-Passion, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Bach Johannes-Passion, Christ Church, South Yarra, Melbourne.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Handel Messiah, Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Handel Messiah, Canberra Choral Society.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Handel Solomon, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Mozart Mass in C Minor, Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2017). Haydn Creation, Newcastle University Choir, Newcastle.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2016). Bach Mass in A, Actus Tragicus, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2016). Bach Johannes-Passion, West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2016). Mozart Requiem, St George's Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2016). Handel Messiah, Collegium Symphonic Chorus, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2015). Bach Johannes-Passion, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2015). Bach Coffee Cantata, Canberra International Music Festival.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014). Bach St Johannes-Passion, Trinity College, Melbourne.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014). Bach Matthäus-Passion, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014). Handel: Messiah, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014). Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2014). Carmina Burana, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Beethoven Ninth Symphony, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Handel Messiah, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Handel Messiah, Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Handel Messiah, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Handel Messiah, Newcastle University Choir.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Handel Theodora, Canberra Choral Society.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Haydn Theresienmesse, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Mozart Requiem. Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2013). Orff Carmina Burana, Sydney Symphony.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2012). Mozart Requiem, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2012). Mozart Great Mass in C Minor, Auckland Choral.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2012). Bach Magnificat, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2012). Glanville-Hicks Profiles from China, Australia Ensemble, Sydney.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2012). Mozart Requiem, Sydney Symphony.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2012). Bach Johannes-Passion, Melbourne Bach Choir.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2012). Handel Messiah, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Handel Messiah, Hobart Baroque.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Bach Christmas Oratorio, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Mozart Great Mass in C Minor, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Mozart Great Mass in C Minor, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Bach Mass in B Minor, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011) de Lalande De Profundis Clamavi, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Orff Carmina Burana, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Handel Messiah, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Bach Magnificat, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Bach Johannes-Passion, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Bach Johannes-Passion, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2011). Bach Matthäus-Passion, Orpheus Choir, Wellington.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Handel Messiah, Auckland Choral.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Mozart Requiem, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Mozart Great Mass in C Minor, St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Monteverdi Vespro della Beata Vergine, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Purcell King Arthur, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Bach Matthäus-Passion, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Bach Mass in B Minor, Orpheus Choir, Wellington.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Bach Johannes-Passion, City of Dunedin Choir.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Monteverdi Vespro della Beata Vergine, Christ Church St Laurence, Sydney.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2010). Bach Matthäus-Passion, Melbourne Bach Choir.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2009). Handel Messiah, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2009). Spiers A Slender Strand of Memories. World premiere performance of a commissioned work marking the sesquicentenary of local government in Newcastle.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2009). Haydn Creation, Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2009). Handel Messiah, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2009). Dean Winter Songs. Australia Ensemble, Sydney.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2008). Charpentier David and Jonathan, Pinchgut Opera, Sydney.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2008). Bach Mass in B Minor, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2007). Britten Canticle II, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Townsville.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2007). Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Townsville.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2006). Mozart Idomeneo (Arbace), Pinchgut Opera, Sydney.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2006). Bach Matthäus-Passion, Sydney Chamber Choir.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). Bach cantatas BWV 79, 80, 140, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). Bach cantatas BWV 19, 130, 149, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). Bach cantatas BWV 27, 46, 78, 105, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). Stradella cantatas and serenatas, University of Newcastle.
  • McMahon, Paul G. (2005). Bach cantatas BWV 7, 9, 30, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

Updated:  12 June 2013/Responsible Officer:  Head, School of Music/Page Contact:  Development Officer