Featured Composer: Michael Kieran Harvey

Source: ABC Radio National

Source: ABC Radio National

Michael Kieran Harvey is one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary piano music of his generation. A champion of Australian music and himself a composer, he regularly commissions new Australian music and has performed with Australia's leading contemporary music ensembles and orchestras.

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 well over 30 solo CDs on various labels.

Released in 2009, his CD "Elektra" (Move MD 3329) was described by Australian critic Clive O'Connell as the product of an "indefatigable master-pianist...pieces commissioned especially for his volcanic talent". Harvey's homage to Zappa "48 Fugues For Frank" was premiered at Mona Foma 2010 and won an AMC state award for best composition in 2011. It is available on CD (MD 3339).

Harvey's awards include the Grand Prix in the Ivo Pogorelich Competition, USA (1993), the Debussy Medal, Paris (1986), the Australian government's Centenary Medal (2002) and the 2009 APRA award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music. The Michael Kieran Harvey Scholarship was established in 2006 to encourage future directions in Australian keyboard art music. He is Adjunct Professor at the Tasmanian Conservatorium.

Michael Kieran Harvey's piece, Deus Est Fabula, was premiered in PLEXUS: Pantheon on 2 April 2014 at the Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre, as part of the Metropolis New Music Festival.

Deus Est Fabula (2014)

Derived from the word Deus (D + Es), this piece is structured on the first seven prime numbers. It is in four main sections:

1. Credulità con rubato (Credulously, with rubato)

2. Moderato espressivo

3. Ossessionato (Obsessed)

4. Impietosamente (Mercilessly)

The composer writes: “The first record I ever bought was Machinehead by Deep Purple. I was eleven years old and Jon Lord’s keyboard playing in this group blew me away, opening my ears to an eclectic musical universe. In a strange way Deep Purple led me back to appreciating anew contemporary classical music. In 2003 I had the great honour of premiering Jon Lord’s one and only Piano Concerto “Boom of the Tingling Strings” in Luxembourg and Brisbane in his presence. He was a modest and warm human being, and a highly intelligent musician. He died last year and I salute him. Lord is another word for Deus. This trio seeks to capture some of the energy and surprise of Lord’s keyboard playing.”

© Michael Kieran Harvey 2014