David Macfarlane's BiographyPicture of David Macfarlane

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. Conducting and training choirs as well as working with singers is another strand in David’s expertise and experience.

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 Conservatorium of Music. As part of his duties, David plays for all the official functions, including the graduations, and works in the Early Music Studio. David is choral co-director at St Michael’s Grammar School where he also coaches and accompanies the VCE music students and he teaches organ, harpsichord and piano at the Methodist Ladies College.


David has presented solo recitals and played continuo for the annual Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields each year for the last 12 years, 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.
In two tours of Europe in 2014 David performed in Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, England, Jersey and Italy.
David has played for performances given by La Campagna, 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 where he was the Organ Scholar. David studied organ with David Rumsey and Robert Ampt, harpsichord and organ with David Kinsela, and conducting with Clive Pascoe.

Other Activities

David enjoys jogging in a park where he is accompanied by numerous kangaroos and native birds, a few echidnas, foxes, water dragons and even the occasional snake. Photography is a hobby that David enjoys particularly when he is giving concerts overseas.

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.