David Pereira (born 21 September 1953) is an Australian classical cellist, who is considered one of the finest working today. He was Senior Lecturer in Cello at the Canberra School of Music from 1990 to 2008. Later he worked there as a Distinguished Artist in Residence. David resumed teaching cello at the school in April 2017 as a Senior Lecturer.
Born in Macksville, New South Wales in 1953, Pereira studied with John Painter at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music from 1972-75 and graduated as ‘Student of the Year’. He also studied with Fritz Magg at Indiana University and completed a master’s degree in Cello Performance (1976–79). His early work included Musica Viva Australia tours of the Outback with Richard Goldner and Charmian Gadd. He played with the Australia Ensemble for 11 years, and was Principal Cellist of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (seven years) and of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (three years). He has also played with Flederman, the Seymour Group, the String Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic, Felix Ayo, the Chilingirian Quartet, Roger Woodward, Geoffrey Tozer, Ian Munro, and the Sydney String Quartet.
Pereira has performed all the cello concertos and major concertante pieces from the standard repertoire (Dvořák, Elgar, Schumann, Saint-Saëns, Johann Christian and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Brahms’s Double Concerto, Bruch’s Kol Nidrei) as well as premiering concertos written for him by Australian composers such as Richard Mills, Barry Conyngham, David Lumsdaine, Larry Sitsky, Mary Finsterer and Bruce Cale. Numerous works by Australian composers for solo cello have also been written for him. He has appeared with the major orchestras in Australia and New Zealand.
He has appeared in Europe, Russia and the United States with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australia Ensemble, at venues such as Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Concertgebouw, Lincoln Center and the United Nations (with Stuart Challender and Dame Joan Sutherland). There have also been appearances in China, India, the Philippines and Japan.
David has recorded the complete works for cello by Peter Sculthorpe and Einojuhani Rautavaara (with Ian Munro) and the complete solo cello suites of Johann Sebastian Bach, among a number of other recordings. He has won many awards including twice winning the Sounds Australian Award for the ‘Best Performance of an Australian Composition’ (Carl Vine’s Inner World and David Lumsdaine’s Garden of Earthly Delights). Apart from the new concertos mentioned, David Pereira has premiered many other new Australian works, by composers such as Carl Vine, Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Nigel Westlake, Elena Kats-Chernin, Mike Nock, Roger Dean, Tristram Cary, Roger Frampton, Anne Boyd and Nigel Butterley.
David plays a beautiful copy of the ‘Servais’ Stradivarius cello of 1701 that now lives in the Smithsonian.
This modern version was crafted from finest European tone-woods in 2015 by Australian luthier Peter Read of Sophia Strings, Orange, NSW. The ‘Servais’ is the last of Strad’s ‘over-size’ cellos. So David’s cello fits in well with his ambiguous, unconventional, paradoxical and unique way of being a cellist and musician.
From 2008-2012 Pereira ran his own cello-focused subscription recital series emanating from the Wesley Music Centre in Canberra and reaching into nearby regional centres. In 2008 he made a series of recordings of his performances, playing a cello which forms part of the A. E. Smith quartet of musical instruments held by the National Museum of Australia. During this time he also played in solo and chamber capacities in the Arts in the Valley and the Canberra International Music Festival.
David Pereira is also a composer. His piece for cello and piano Mt. Ainslie Rising was premiered by himself and Tamara Anna Cislowska at the Canberra International Music Festival on 14 May 2013.