David MacfarlaneDavid in Leipzig

David Macfarlane is a Melbourne based musician whose interests and abilities cover a diverse spectrum of stylistic performance from liturgical chant through instrumental and vocal music of the renaissance to contemporary classical music. David is equally at home on organ and harpsichord as a soloist and accompanist as well as accompanying regularly on piano and he is passionate about both performance and teaching on these instruments. See the bottom of this page for a fuller CV.

He is active as a soloist, continuo player, conductor, accompanist and teacher.

David is the organist at Newman College, the University of Melbourne, and is a staff member of both the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.



Notes on 2020

Below, I normally list a few of the concerts which I will be performing or involved in. 2019 ended on a very positive note with a delightfully enjoyable tour of New Zealand with the Choir of Newman College who presented A Baroque Christmas with local early music specialists. Since then, like all musicians, I have seen so many concerts that I was very much looking forward to cancelled as governments reacted to the current health situation.

In January, I was engaged, at very late notice, to accompany the Melbourne University Choral Society (MUCS) on their tour of Europe through January, flying out just after the Scorned Women concert. Because of this, I was very disappointed to no longer be available to perform with Louisa Hunter-Bradley music by Frescobaldi for the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields Festival, but many thanks to Donald Nicholson for stepping in for me with very late notice. For the third time, I accompanied MUCS through European countries, providing them with access to venues that needed an organist with a European profile. During this time, we began to hear about a virus in China and, by the time I flew out of Munich, there were two confirmed cases in Munich. Little did I realise that those concerts and performances would be the last for a long time.

So, the last time that I have played for a Mass was in January in St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City where the celebrant prayed for victims of the fires in Australia. We did not know that while we were in Lombardy, the virus was spreading like wild fire through that region.

Metzler in Neustift

The last time I performed in public was on this stunning Metzler organ in Neustift, South Tirol a few days later.



Scorned Women

2 January 2020

Louisa Hunter-Bradley, voice and recorder
Lizzy Welsh, violin
David Macfarlane, harpsichord and chamber organ

Drama, rhetoric, desire and tragedy: the Italians of the early baroque had it all. Join our scorned women on their journey through instrumental and vocal virtuosity, intensity of discord and clarity of text – the joys and sorrows created by Italy’s leading musicians. To celebrate Barbara Strozzi’s 400th anniversary, applaud music written not only for women but also by women, just as impassioned today as when first created. Join UK based early music specialist Louisa, Lizzy and me for a concert and excellent wine with the aroma of oak casks adding to the delight.

Thursday 7.00 pm
2 January 2020

Hurley Vineyard
101 Balnarring Rd, Balnarring

Booking Peninsula Festival


Sound the Trumpet

2 November 2019

Melbourne’s own countertenor Maximilian Riebl soars to the heights of 17th-century song, as he joins Ludovico’s Band in a program of favourite works by Purcell, Handel and Dowland. This is the first concert in the new conservatorium building under the agreement that allows the conservatorium access to the Melbourne Recital Centre for concerts in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall with its audience capacity of 1000 seats and allows the MRC access to the Ian Potter Southbank Centre with its more intimate 400 seat capacity.

Enjoy baroque harp, theorbo, baroque guitar, harpsichord, organ and strings in this delightful program of English music about love, revenge and death

Saturday 7.00 pm
2 November2019

Hanson Dyer Hall
Ian Potter Southbank Centre
33-43 Sturt St, Southbank

Tickets: $39/$29

Booking www.melbournerecital.com.au


J.S., C.P.E., & W.F. BACH

20 OCTOBER 2019

Greg DikmanFollowing on from our performances for the Melbourne Baroque Orchestra Gala Concert and our concert in 2018, Greg Dikmans ('Quantz' flute) and I present a concert with music close to our hearts that reflects our research interests. We will couple J.S. Bach's Sonata in A Major for flute & obligato harpsichord (BWV 1032) with C.P.E. Bach's Sonata in D major for flute & continuo (Wq 131) in an hour long program.

Greg will perform C.P.E. Bach's Sonata in A minor for unaccompanied flute (Wq 132). Like the Solo in A minor (BWV 1013) by J.S. Bach and Telemann's Fantasias, this sonata is considered a pinnacle of the repertoire for unaccompanied flute. I will perform the first two of the Six Polonoises that W.F. Bach penned. The second of these is pensive and darkly coloured. whilst the first provides a very interesting comparison with J.S. Bach's Fantasie (BWV 906) with which the program will start. This Fantasie shows that J.S.B was up-to-date with virtuosic keyboard techniques and was able to imbue the technical with his own compositional flair.

I would like to acknowledge the generosity of Newman College in allowing us to use the Chapel of the Holy Spirit for this concert; the chapel enjoys an acoustic that is very satisfying for the performers and the audience of chamber music, particularly with these instruments, but permission is rarely granted for concerts in the chapel.

Sunday 3.00 pm
20 October 2019

Chapel of Newman College
887 Swanston St.,

Tickets: $35/$20

Booking via ClassikON








Reviving Bach : Brunswick Beethoven Festival Concert 2

Wednesday, 6 February, 2019

Jane DownerThe UK based baroque oboist, Jane Downer, and I, on harpsichord, present a program of JS Bach's music re-fashioned to exist in fresh versions. Bach often revisited his own material, re-assembling it to suit different instrumental combinations and practical circumstances. Particularly, he devoted much of his final ten years in Leipzig to revision and adapation of several works. Not one of the pieces in this programme was originally written for the instruments on which we are performing. Bach's own arrangement for harpsichord of the Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin BWV 1003 follows a long-established tradition of transferring existing pieces to the keyboard. Bach's discreet modifications re-establish a sonata characteristically expressive for harpsichord. The Sonata for Oboe and Obbligato Harpsichord BWV 1030b is a reconstruction from the B minor sonata for flute and obbligato harpsichord, that I had the delight of performing with Greg Dikmans last year, and a trio manuscript for harpsichord in which the uppermost line is missing. Some of the movements of Bach's trio sonatas for organ pre-existed in other vocal and instrumental works by Bach. In our re-ascription of instruments of the first sonata, BWV 525, the oboe da caccia takes the middle line with no alteration to key or notes necessary.

For more festival information and to book tickets ($35/$30) go to the festival's website.

7.30 pm

Brunswick Uniting Church
212 Sydney Road





Arvo Pärt : The Passion of St John

Friday, 11 January, 2019

Schola Cantorum, soloists and ensemble directed by Dr Gary Ekkel
Arvo Pärt’s hauntingly beautiful, extraordinary masterpiece, written in his own minimalist style, has rightly stood the test of time. I will be performing in this for the second time, a rare privilege. Gary's conception makes use of the full cathedral, adding a 3D sound stage to this haunting and most moving austere work.

More information for this and the following recital is on the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields website.

7.30 pm

St Patrick's Cathedral
cnr Sturt and Dawson Streets


Les Angélus- Romantic sacred music for soprano and organ

Monday, 14 January, 2019

I will be accompanying soprano Louisa Hunter-Bradley in a program of music for organ and soprano including music by Vierne, Rheinberger, Honegger, Ravel and Dvorak. Louisa, now based in the UK, and I performed, recorded and broadcast many times back when Louisa was the director of Past Echoes and it is a delight to be able to work with her again. Louisa brings her entrancing interprative skills to music that is perfectly at home in the cathedral and with the organ part utilizing the instrument in a way that only experienced organists can do when composing.

4.00 pm

St Patrick's Cathedral
cnr Sturt and Dawson Streets





Lucy Price

Baroque Cello, Organ and Harpsichord

8 December 2018

Join Lucy Price, Laura Moore and me as we present a program of delightful Italian sonatas for cello and continuo.

Saturday 3.00 pm
8 December 2018

Temperance Hall
199 Napier Street
South Melbourne






Advent Organ Recital at St Patrick's Mentone

8 December 2018

Just after playing baroque cello sonatas I will be heading down to perform on the Nicholson organ in St Patrick's as one of the performers in their Advent Organ series. Starting with the entrancing Chorale Fantasia on Wie schõn leuchtet der Morgenstern by Buxtehude, I will present Trio Sonata 4 by JS Bach and Organ Sonata 4 by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. (After all, there are 4 Sundays in Advent.) Just before the Mendelssohn, I'll play two of my favourite pieces from Louis Vierne's 24 Pièces en style libre.

These concerts are underwritten by the church so that there is no entrance fee.

Saturday 5.00 pm
8 December 2018

St Patrick's Catholic Church
10 Rogers St,

Tickets: Free





Couperin, Bach, Telemann & Quantz

23 September 2018

Greg DikmanFollowing on from our performance as part of August's Melbourne Baroque Orchestra Gala Concert, Greg Dikmans ('Quantz' flute) and I (harpsichord) present a concert with music close to our hearts. We will couple J.S. Bach's Sonata in B minor for flute & harpsichord (BWV 1030) with F. Couperin's Suite in B minor (8ème Ordre) for harpsichord solo, regarded by scholars and performers as the one of the greatest suites of the French Clavecin school. This concert provides a rare opportunity to experience this work and to enjoy it in the context of Bach's sonata for flute and harpsichord in the same key.

Greg will perform solo flute Fantasias of G.Ph. Telemann, works that he has explored throughout his career, and to which he brings a wealth of experience. We will combine again for a sonata by J.J. Quantz written in what he called the ‘mixed’ style (using elements of the French, Italian, German and Polish styles) and movements from F. Couperin's 8th Concert in the Theatrical style (the pure French style in homage to the airs and dances in Lully’s operas)..

Sunday 3.00 pm
23 September 2018

Chapel of Newman College
887 Swanston St.,

Tickets: $35/$20

Book Here





David has played in numerous performances for the annual Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields, the Scots’ International Organ Festival, the Newman College Advent Festival, the Past Echoes Autumn Festival, the Melbourne International Festival of Organ and Harpsichord, the Organ Society of South Australia, the Society of Organists, Victoria, the Organ Music Society of Sydney, St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, as well as the Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney Town Halls and for many churches and colleges.

Since 2014 David has averaged more than one tour per year to Europe performing in countries such as Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, England, Jersey, Slovania and Italy.
David has played for performances given by La Campagna, the Melbourne Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra Virtuosi, the Melbourne Classical Players, the Australian Chamber Choir, e21, the Star Chorale, Canterbury Fellowship, Gloriana, St John’s Southgate, the Newman College Choir, the Consort of Melbourne, and the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic. He has also presented numerous chamber music concerts with the leading early music specialists in Australia and overseas and has been broadcast live and recorded by a number of national broadcast companies.

Compositions, both solo and ensemble, have been commissioned for David and he has given first performances of works by many composers including the Australian composers Timothy McKenry, Christopher Willcock, Elliot Geiger, Christopher Luke, Rosalie Bonighton and Brett McKern. He was chosen to perform the winning entries of the New Organ Music of Australia competition for the awards ceremony in 2008 and to perform for the launch of The Southern Cross Collection - Organ Music by Australian Composers in 2009.

David’s interest and knowledge of liturgical music was utilised as Director of Music at St Michael’s Uniting Church, Collin St, Melbourne (1996-2002), and All Saints’ Anglican Church, East St Kilda (2004-2012), where he was recognised for his development of the only parish church choir in Australia with a traditional English cathedral style all-male choir.


When based in Vienna, David performed around Europe and officiated on the historically classified 1741 Dacci organ in the church of Salvator am Wienerfeld where he was the Director of Music. He graduated from the University of Performing Arts, Vienna, in 1992, where he studied in the performance and church music departments under Michael Radulescu (organ and improvisation), Gordon Murray (harpsichord), Augusta Campagna (continuo), Maria Seidlhofer (piano) and Erwin Ortner (choir training and conducting). Masterclasses afforded David the opportunity to work with other leading European musicians including Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, Susan Landale, Ton Koopman, Rudi Meyer, Marie-Claire Alain, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden and Peter Hurford.

David’s undergraduate studies were in organ and musicology at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music and the University of Sydney. David studied organ with David Rumsey and Robert Ampt, harpsichord and organ with David Kinsela, and conducting with Clive Pascoe. David's earliest organ teacher was David Clark, now the driving force behind teaching pipe organ using the Suzuki method in Australia.


Other Activities

David enjoys jogging in a park where he is accompanied by numerous Eastern Grey Kangaroos and native birds, a few echidnas and wombats, foxes, water dragons and even the occasional snake. Photography is a hobby that David enjoys particularly when he is travelling for his overseas concerts.

A number of publications and presentations to international symposiums date from engineering times. He was part of the team that won the inaugural Melbourne Business School's Melbourne University Entrepreneurs Challenge in 2000, and subsequently established Dynamic Hearing after attracting funding of several million dollars to commercialise the DSP algorithm for hearing aids that he implemented on research and commercial platforms.