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Michael Kieran Harvey : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Addict (piano with live electronics) 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 Award for the Instrumental Work of the Year in 2011. His Psychosonata (Piano Sonata no. 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 Tasmanian State Award for Instrumental Work of the Year in 2016. Piano sonata no. 3 "Aporia" was premiered at the MSO's 2016 Metropolis series. His 90-minute Green Brain cycle (based on the eponymous Frank Herbert novel) was premiered at the Mona Foma Festival in 2018, and was critically acclaimed as a festival highlight.

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 Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music, and the 2014 Tasmanian State Award for the Performance of the Year (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. Recent notated collaborations include the Israeli-Australian composer Yitzhak Yedid's piano concerto with the Tel Aviv Soloists, Messiaen's Couleurs de la Cité Celeste with MSO and the Carter duo with ex-Arditti violinist Graeme Jennings.

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 nine exceptional Australian musicians. Harvey is based in Tasmania, where he supports many environmental causes.

Michael Kieran Harvey — current to February 2018

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.
Homage to Liszt : for violin and piano (2016) Commissioned by Arjun Von Caemmerer.
Portrait of Bob Brown : duo for violin and piano (2016) Commissioned by Arjun Von Caemmerer.
Digital sheet music sample '7' : for baritone sax and piano (2015) Commissioned by Adam Simmons.
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.

Analysis & Media

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