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Michael Kieran Harvey

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Michael Kieran Harvey (born 7 July 1961) is an Australian pianist and composer whose career has been notable for its diversity and wide repertoire. He is renowned for commissioning, performing and composing new music. He has especially promoted the works of Australian composers, such as Carl Vine, most of whose piano music he has recorded and much of which was written for him. He is also particularly associated with the piano music of Olivier Messiaen.

According to critic Clive O'Connell in The Age: "Few Australian pianists can touch Michael Kieran Harvey, one of the most exciting exponents of contemporary music in the country".[1]



Michael Kieran Harvey was born in Sydney in 1961. He says that as a child he had great difficulty in coming to terms with being a musician, as he played four different codes of football and was also involved in surf lifesaving.[2] His brother, Dominic, was head of brass at the Australian National University and is a noted conductor; his sister Bernadette, is a pianist.[3] and another sister, Rowan Harvey-Martin, is a violinist and noted conductor.[4][5] His mother, Anne (a student of Alexander Sverjensky), abandoned her plans to become a concert pianist when her own father died in her mid-teens. His father, Francis, was a journalist and for a time a freelance cellist.[2] He is married to pianist Arabella Teniswood-Harvey. Michael has two children, Isabella and Raphael, by his first marriage, to pianist Denise Papaluca.[citation needed]


Harvey studied piano at the Canberra School of Music with Alan Jenkins, at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under Gordon Watson, and at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, under Sándor Falvai. He first came to international prominence by jointly winning,[6] with Edith Chen, the 1993 International Solo Piano Competition founded by Ivo Pogorelić in Pasadena, California, in which he performed Carl Vine's Piano Sonata No. 1.

At the time, this was the world's richest piano competition. He entered the competition not believing he could win, but as an excuse to go to Los Angeles to see Frank Zappa, who was very ill, and to seek permission to play his piano music in public. However, Zappa died of cancer on the day of the finals and Harvey did not meet him. His manager from Columbia Artists Management was Ronald Wilford, who was Glenn Gould's manager, and at that stage Ivo Pogorelić's own manager.[citation needed]


This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources.Find sources: "Michael Kieran Harvey" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (October 2021)

He has premiered many new Australian concertos by composers such as Yitzhak Yedid, Carl Vine, Nigel Westlake, Paul Grabowsky, Larry Sitsky, Barry Conyngham, Don Kay, and Eve Duncan.

He has given Australian premieres of important international works by Louis Andriessen, Stefan Wolpe, Donald Martino, Frank Zappa, Jon Lord (of Deep Purple), Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Beat Furrer and Milton Babbitt.

Harvey has worked with conductors such as Edo de Waart, Reinbert de Leeuw, Diego Masson, Markus Stenz and Kristjan Järvi, and has collaborated with the Arditti Quartet, the Netherlands and Luxembourg Philharmonics, Jon Lord, Keith Emerson, and Paul Grabowsky. He regularly appears as soloist with Australian symphony orchestras.

He has performed and recorded most of Olivier Messiaen's works involving piano to high critical acclaim. In 2005 he released a live 3-CD recording of the Australian premiere of the entire Catalogue d'oiseaux featuring Peter Cundall as narrator. Despite his close association with Messiaen's music Harvey is an atheist, who describes himself as having escaped Catholicism in his early teens, as did Frank Zappa.

He has recorded Carl Vine's complete piano music (including the 12 Preludes of 2006), much of which was written for him. He commissioned Nigel Westlake's Piano Sonatas I (1998) and II (2004) and Piano Concerto (2000) and gave the premiere performances. Harvey has commissioned and recorded major Australian piano cycles by Larry Sitsky, Mike Nock, and Graham Hair, and promoted major works by Helen Gifford, Warren Burt, Eve Duncan, Tom Henry, and Brett Dean.[7]


Harvey holds a PhD in composition and has recorded much of his own music.[7]

Elektra piano with live electronics 1992
Toccata DNA piano 1993
Toccata DNA trio for percussion, flute and piano 1993
Addict piano with live electronics 1994
Spindrift piano with live electronics 1995
Kazohinia French horn, singer, piano, synthesiser, CD and live electronics 1997–98
Play the piano drunk until the fingers begin to bleed a bit electric piano and CD 2002
Miles away electric piano and CD 2002
...until the fingers begin to bleed... amplified sextet (2 pianos, clarinet, viola, 2 electric guitars) 2002
Blood on the spinifex suite of 12 movements for electric piano and CD 2003
Pink Nautilus piano 2003
Piano Sonata No. 1 piano 2006
Kursk cello and piano 2007
48 Fugues for Frank cycle for piano/keyboards 2009
Makzurka piano 2011
Etude for trumpet in C and piano trumpet and piano 2011
Homage to Liszt percussion and piano 2011
Fear violin and piano 2011
Psychosonata (Piano Sonata No. 2) piano 2012
City of Snakes bass clarinet, drums, electric piano, bass 2013
Deus est fabula clarinet, piano, violin 2014
N-Chromium keyboards and rock ensemble 2014
Deaths Head Mandala synthesiser, electric guitar and rock ensemble 2014
The Ride of the Little Star piano 2014
Patañjali suite of five movements for two keyboards and percussion 2015
Carpe Diem piano 2015
"7" baritone saxophone and piano 2015
"7" alto saxophone and keyboards 2016
Portrait of Bob Brown violin and piano 2016
Piano Sonata No. 3 "Aporia" piano 2016
Homage to Liszt violin and piano 2016
Homage to Liszt solo piano 2017
The Green Brain cycle of 20 movements for piano/keyboards 2017–18
Tubby the president tuba and piano 2018
Module Fugue piano 2018
Keen piano 2018
Piano Sonata No. 4 "A. Gramsci" piano 2018
Catalogue des Errances Bibliques (duo), Symphony in no need of an orchestra cycle of 25 movements for duo keyboards 2018
Astro Labe, Coeur de Lion duo for trumpet and electric piano/synth/sequencer 2018
PRTZL solo for two opposing keyboards 2018
Catalogue des Errances Bibliques (ensemble), Symphony in no need of an orchestra cycle of 25 movements for narrator and ensemble 2019
Aporia II three pianos and percussion 2019
Divertimento solo piano 2019
Gestalt Climate for two pianos 2019
Duo for viola and piano viola and piano 2019
Rameaustein for iPads, iPhone and electric keyboard 2019
Inside the World of the Digital Narcissist for soprano and percussion 2019
Piano Sonata #5 "GRETA", Concerto in no need of an orchestra solo piano/electric keyboard 2020
Piano Sonata #6: '17 Graeme Lee Prints' solo piano 2020


1 "Michael Kieran Harvey plays Liszt, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin" Liszt B minor sonata, Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit, Rachmaninoff Etudes Tableaux 1–3, Scriabin Vers la Flamme CDPP1, 1991
2 "Inspired 20th Century Piano Music" Vine Sonata #1; Carter Sonata; Stravinsky Petrouchka; Graham Hair "Under Aldebaran" CDPP2, 1992
3 "Vine Piano Sonata #1" Vine Sonata #1 Tall Poppies TP 013, 1992
4 "Piano Miniatures" works by 42 Australian composers Red House Editions, 1994
5 "Anthology of Australian Music on Disc" McSullea/Harvey, Music for flute, piano and computer-generated sound, Humble,Pollard, Walker, Yu, Banks, Worral and Burt Canberra School of Music CD-CSM 18,1994
6 "Threnody" Harvey "Toccata DNA" and "Addict"; Vine 5 Bagatelles; Campbell "quaquaversal"; McCaughey 8 Preludes; Byrne "Within Stanzas"; Humble 8 Bagatelles; Anderson "Reveria" Astra CD1, 1995
7 "Expose" Tahourdin Move MD 3205, 1998
8 "Vers La Flamme" Scriabin Deutsche Grammophon 441 969–2, 1998
9 "Vingt Regards sur L’enfant Jesus" Messiaen ABC Classics double CD, ABC 462 767–2,1999
10 "A Handful of Rain " Pollard Move MD 3218, 1999
11 "Piano Concerto #1" Carl Vine ABC Classics ABC 456 698–2, 2000
12 "Vine Piano Sonata #2" Carl Vine Tall Poppies TP 120, 2000
13 "Carnival of the Animals" Saint-Saëns, ACO/Leunig/Garrett, Australian Virtuosi (Michael Kieran Harvey, Bernadette Harvey) Regency Recordings 34275 FT2437, 2000
14 "Storm Sight" Vine sonatas 1 & 2; Zappa "Ruth is Sleeping"; Macek "Small Leaps"; Dargaville "Alba" ABC 461 723–2, 2001
15 "Recital – Australian Art Song" Merlyn Quaife accompanied by Michael Kieran Harvey Tall Poppies TP 155, 2002
16 "Rabid Bay" Westlake sonata #1, Whiffen sonata #2, Dargaville "Negra", Tempany "The promise of Water", Harvey "Pink Nautilus", Vine "Rash", Neal "Rabid Bay" Move MD3288 2004
17 "Tensile Flame" Liszt sonata plus 20th Century piano music Move double CD MD3286 2004
18 "Catalogue d'oiseaux" Messiaen with narration by Peter Cundall Move triple CD MD3299 2005
19 "As all the Heavens were a Bell" "The Waves" by Martin Mackerras Martin Mackerras 2005
20 "The Music of David Joseph vol.2" Piano Concerto, Chamber Concerto, Rhapsody Move MD3302 2006
21 "American Violin and Piano music" Miwako Abe accompanied by Michael Kieran Harvey New World Records 80641-2 2006
22 "Shostakovitch/Messiaen" Shostakovitch preludes op 34 and piano sonata #1, Messiaen 8 preludes Move MD3308 2006
23 "The Hinchinbrook Riffs" Westlake sonata #1 Tall Poppies 187 2006
24 "The Way of The Seeker" piano cycle by Larry Sitsky Move MD3309 2006
25 "The Piano Music of Carl Vine 1990–2006" Vine sonatas 1&2, bagatelles, Preludes, Red Blues Tall Poppies 190 2006
26 "In the Time of Sakura" The Piano Music of Mike Nock Move MD3314 2007
27 "Crystal Vision" The Piano Music of Kanako Okamoto Move MD3319 2007
28 "Broadway Boogie" Westlake (sonata #2), Byrne (6 Dances 2002), McCaughey (Toccata), Pollard (sonata 2006), Harvey (Sonata #1) and Ford (Broadway Boogie-Woogie) Move MD3315 2007
29 "Curiosities" Eve Duncan: Wave to the Depths I & II Move MD3320 2007
30 "The School of Natural Philosophy" Friedel " The School of Natural Philosophy", Knehans "Boyd Panels", Hair 3 Transcendental etudes, Paredes "Triptico", Meale/Harvey "Coruscations II" (for electric piano) Move MD 3324 2008
31 "Dimensions of Night" Piano Cycle of 10 movements by Larry Sitsky Move MD 3325 2009
32 "Elektra" Harvey – Elektra, Gould – 3 pieces for Piano, Gifford – Menin Gate, Ford – Folly,Yu – Sonata Move MD 3329 2009
33 "48 Fugues For Frank" Piano Cycle – Homage to Zappa – by M.K.Harvey, with concrete poetry by Dr Arjun von Caemmerer Move MD 3339 2010
34 "Astra 60" Humble – Sonata no. 1, Gifford – Three Pieces, Pollard – Krebs, Boland – Two Miniatures, Henry – Piano Sonata, Whiffen – Sonata no. 3 Move MD 3357 2012
35 "Psychosonata" original works by Michael Kieran Harvey 2007–13: "Psychosonata" (Piano sonata #2), "Kursk" (cello and piano), "Fear" (violin and piano), "Makzurka" (piano), "Homage to Liszt" (percussion and piano), "Etude" (trumpet and piano), "City of Snakes" (bass clarinet, piano, bass and drums) Move MD 3368 2013
36 "Inferno" cycle of 15 movements for Michael Kieran Harvey by Elliott Gyger (2013); with Compass variations (1994) (live recording) Move MD 3376 2014
37 "Siva" Australian virtuoso piano music: Hanson – Sonata op. 12, Kerry – Sonata, Colbert – "Quicksand", Gifford – "Siva", Kelly – Untitled (Moths) Move MD 3397 2015
38 "Patañjali" a celebration of Patañjali's Yoga-Sūtra in music and āsana: composed for 2 keyboards and percussion by Michael Kieran Harvey 2015 Move CD/DVD MD 3399 2015
39 "126 Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" the Young Person's Guide to Composition (2014) by Julian Yu Move MD 3404 2016
40 "70 More Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" from composers around the world (2014) Julian Yu (ed.) Move MD 3405, 2016
41 "The piano music of Michael Bertram" Piano Sonata and other works Move MD 3407, 2016
42 "Portrait of Bob Brown" Portrait of Bob Brown for violin and piano (Harvey, 2016), Homage to Liszt for violin and piano (Harvey, 2016), Aftermath for solo violin (Emily Sheppard, 2016) Move MD 3415, 2017
43 "Aporia" Australian Piano Music: Harvey 3rd Piano Sonata "Aporia" (2016), works by David Harris, Allan Walker, Paul Grabowsky and Simon Barber Move MD 3418, 2017
44 "Concerto for Piano and Toy Band" Piano concerto with jazz/rock ensemble by Adam Simmons, performed by Michael Kieran Harvey and Adam Simmons' Toy Band Fat Rain CD FAT016, 2017
45 "Carmina Burana" Orff, version for 2 pianos and percussion, performed by Sara Macliver, Paul McMahon, Jonathan Summers, Synergy, Cantillation, Australian Virtuosi (Michael Kieran Harvey and Bernadette Harvey), Sydney Children's Choir, conducted by Antony Walker ABC Classics, ABC4814927, 2017
46 "The Green Brain" Cycle of 20 movements by M. K. Harvey (2018) after the novel The Green Brain by Frank Herbert, with concrete poetry by Dr Arjun von Caemmerer Move MD 3434, 2018
47 "Luz Meridional" 24 piano études no. 411 by Andriàn Pertout (2009–2012) Move MD 3435, 2018
48 "Move 50" 24 composers celebrate 50 years of Move records (M.K.Harvey appears as interpreter and composer (Keen)) Move MD 3450, 2018
49 "Music from 4 to 40 Parts" Vaughan McAlley's music interpreted by M.K.Harvey and Ensemble Gombert Move MD 3437, 2019
50 "Dancing to the Tremors of Time" Harvey interprets piano music by Brendan Colbert, Scott McIntyre, Don Kay, Elliott Gyger, Elizabeth Drake, Martin Friedel and Brendan Collins Move MD 3438, 2019
51 "PRTZL" Chamber works composed by M.K.Harvey: Module Fugue, Sonata No.4 "A.Gramsci", PRTZL, Astro Labe Coeur de Lion, Divertimento, Tubby the President, Gestalt Climate, Deus est Fabula, Toccata DNA (trio), Aporia II Move MD 3447, 2019
52 "GRETA" Piano Sonata #5 "GRETA" – Concerto in no need of an orchestra, composed and performed by M.K.Harvey in two versions – (a) solo piano (b) electric keyboards, with poem "Regret" by Dr Arjun von Caemmerer Move MD 3452, 2020
53 "Piano Sonata #6" Piano Sonata #6: '17 Graeme Lee Prints' with aphorisms by Arjun von Caemmerer (2020), composed and performed by M.K.Harvey Move MD 3453, 2020


In 2005 the Michael Kieran Harvey Scholarship was established and funded by Susan Mary Remington in honour of his contribution to Australian music, and to encourage future directions in keyboard art music. Recipients: 2006 – Cameron Roberts; 2008 – Ashley Hribar; 2010 – Zubin Kanga; 2012 – Aura Go and Adam Cook; 2014 – Dr James Hullick; 2016 – Alex Raineri and Nicholas Young;[8] 2018 – Rohan Drape; 2020 – Dr Anthony Pateras.[7]


  • Joint Grand Prix in the 1993 International Solo Piano Competition (usually referred to as the Ivo Pogorelić Piano Competition, after its founder) in Pasadena, with Edith Chen
  • Debussy Medal (Paris 1985)[9]
  • Finalist, Inaugural International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, Utrecht, Netherlands (1986)[10]
  • Four consecutive Australian Mo Awards for best classical artist
  • Awarded the Australian Government's Centenary Medal for services to Australian music (2002)
  • Three times nominated for the Helpmann Award[11]
  • His recordings are regularly nominated in the ARIAs and APRAs.
  • APRA Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music (2009)


  1. ^ The Age, 22 October 2005[full citation needed]
  2. ^ a b Ben Holgate, "Classical champion", The Weekend Australian, 6–7 September 1999.
  3. ^ Sunday, 20 April 2003 Archived 9 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The passion of the choir (pic), Ron Cerebona, The Canberra Times, 31 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Classic encounters", Limelight, February 2008.
  6. ^ "Archives". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ a b c " Michael Kieran Harvey : Represented Artist", Australian Music Centre
  8. ^ "2016 Michael Kieran Harvey Scholarship winners announced", media release, Perpetual Philanthropic Services, 26 August 2016
  9. ^ International Piano Competitions /Gustav A. Alink, p159
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2009.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Helpmann Awards
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