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Michael Kieran Harvey : Associate Artist

Random Audio Sample: Toccata DNA (solo piano) by Michael Kieran Harvey, from the CD Threnody

Photo of Michael Kieran Harvey

Photo: Pia Johnson

Michael Kieran Harvey was born in Sydney and studied piano with Alan Jenkins, Gordon Watson, and at the Liszt Academy, Budapest, under Sándor Falvai. His career has been notable for its diversity and wide repertoire. He has especially promoted the works of Australian and contemporary composers and recorded over 40 solo CDs on various labels. He has premiered many new Australian and international concertos with all Australian symphony orchestras.

Harvey's compositions have been performed in Europe, the UK, North and South America and Asia, in addition to major Australian festivals. He concentrates on non-standard formats, often humorously questioning classical music and embracing diverse influences.

His hour-long multi-keyboard homage to Zappa 48 Fugues For Frank was premiered at Mona Foma in 2010 and received the AMC/APRA Tasmanian State Art Music Award (Instrumental Work of the Year) in 2011. His Psychosonata (piano sonata #2) was presented at MONA in their 2012 Synaesthesia festival. Respected musicologist, composer and performer Michael Hannan wrote of Harvey's 2014 Psychosonata CD (Move MD 3368): 'like many a virtuoso performer turned composer, Harvey's music often stretches the boundaries of performance technique... The Psychosonata CD is an enjoyable and often dazzling listening experience'.

Harvey's trio Deus est Fabula was premiered by Plexus at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's 2014 Metropolis series at the Melbourne Recital Centre. A live CD/DVD recording of his epic Iyengar yoga and ensemble work Patañjali (2015) was released on the Move label and received an AMC/APRA state award for composition in 2016. Piano sonata #3 Aporia was premiered at the MSO's 2016 Metropolis series. His 90-minute Green Brain electronics cycle (based on the eponymous Frank Herbert novel) is due for its premiere in 2017.

Harvey gave the 2012 Peggy Glanville-Hicks address on the state of contemporary Australian art music to acclaim and controversy.

As a pianist Harvey's awards include the Grand Prix in the Ivo Pogorelich Piano Competition, USA (1993 - the world's richest at the time), the Debussy Medal (the Guilde Francaise Concours Paris 1986), the Australian Government's Centenary Medal (2002), the 2009 AMC/APRA Classical Music Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music, and the 2014 Tasmanian State Art Music Award for best performance (Gyger's Inferno).

Recent improvisation collaborations include the Chinese-Australian Typhoon ensemble with Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie, the fluxus-influenced Slave Pianos and Indonesian punk outfit Punkasila, James Hullick's piano concerto with JOLT ensemble, saxophonist Adam Simmons's jazz/rock piano concerto, and Martin Friedel's Dance of the Bee with Astra.

The Michael Kieran Harvey Scholarship was established in 2006 to encourage future directions in Australian keyboard art music, and to date has launched the international professional careers of eight exceptional Australian musicians. Harvey is based in Tasmania, where he supports many environmental causes.

Michael Kieran Harvey — current to September 2016

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Piano sonata no. 3 : "Aporia" (solo piano) (2016) Commissioned by Graeme Lee for his wife Margaret.
Patañjali : for two keyboards and percussion, a celebration of Patañjali’s Yoga-Sūtra in music and āsana (2015) Commissioned by MONA FOMA.
Carpe Diem : Italian Gothic 'bas-relief' for solo piano, after Respighi's "The Pines of Rome" (2015) Commissioned by Arabella Teniswood-Harvey.
The ride of the little star : for solo piano (2014) Commissioned by Julian Yu.
Digital sheet music sample Deus est fabula : trio for piano, B flat clarinet and violin (2014) Commissioned for the MSO/Melbourne Recital Centre's 2014 Metropolis series
City of snakes : for B flat clarinet, piano, bass, and drums (2013) Leigh Hobba

Analysis & Media

Book: Australian pianists : a cross-section of performers offers insights into aspects of pianism / edited by Martin Comte.