Australian pianist Michael Kieran Harvey was born in Sydney on 7 July 1961 and studied piano in Canberra with Alan Jenkins, at the Sydney Conservatorium with Gordon Watson, and at the Budapest Liszt Academy with the director, Sandor Falvai.
During a diverse and wide-ranging career, Harvey has worked with conductors such as Edo de Waart, Reinbert de Leeuw, Diego Masson and Kristian Jarvi, and collaborated recently with the Arditti String Quartet, the Netherlands and Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestras, Jon Lord of Deep Purple, Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake and Palmer), Absolute Ensemble and Paul Grabowsky (Australian Art Orchestra). He regularly appears as soloist with Australian symphony orchestras.
Known for his performances of new music, Harvey has promoted the works of Australian composers, both internationally and within Australia. He has given first performances of Australian concertos by Carl Vine, Nigel Westlake, Paul Grabowsky, David Joseph and Barry Conyngham, and first Australian performances of works by Louis Andriessen, Stefan Wolpe, Donald Martino, Frank Zappa, Jon Lord, Keith Emerson and Milton Babbitt. He has performed and recorded most of Messiaen's works involving piano to high critical acclaim, releasing a three CD recording of the Australian première of the entire Catalogue d'oiseaux in 2005. Other recordings include his own original music, major works by Australian contemporaries Larry Sitsky, Andrew Byrne, John McCaughey, Mark Pollard, Andrew Ford, Douglas Knehans, Mike Nock, Graham Hair, Helen Gifford and Martin Friedel, works by emerging Japanese and Mexican composers, and a CD of early Messiaen and Shostakovich.
His distinctive playing has been recognised by many national and International awards, including the Grand Prix in the Ivo Pogorelich Piano Competition (Pasadena), the Debussy Medal (Paris), four consecutive Australian 'Mo' awards for best classical artist, the Australian Government's Centenary Medal for services to Australian music, and three nominations for the Helpmann Award.
In 2005 the estate of the late Susan Remington established the Michael Kieran Harvey Scholarship in honour of his contribution to Australian music, and to encourage future directions in keyboard art music.
He is Adjunct Professor at the Tasmanian Conservatorium, a visiting artist at the Victorian College of the Arts and a Fellow of Melbourne University's Faculty of Music.
Music as a Form of Magic - Larry Sitsky: Late Piano Pieces - Second Series 2022-2023
Interpretation and Aporias - Richard Meszto considers Michael Kieran Harvey's recent doctoral dissertation
Somewhat Delayed Reviews - The Beauty of Italy Captured in Sound - Arabella Teniswood-Harvey plays piano music from Italy, impressing Richard Meszto
Astounding Contributions - Larry Sitsky at Eighty, by Endre Anaru
CD Spotlight. Zapped Fugues - Michael Kieran Harvey's tribute to Frank Zappa impresses Gordon Rumson. 'The virtuosity is astounding.'
Think Again - A late review of Anvil (and some musings on classical music equivalents), by Gordon Rumson
CD Spotlight. Creative Fire - Larry Sitsky's 'The Way of the Seeker', heard by Gordon Rumson. '... an outstanding artistic achievement ...'
CD Spotlight. Superlative Performances - Nigel Westlake's 'The Hinchinbrook Riffs', recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... essential listening for anyone interested in new music.'
Dimensions of Night - Gordon Rumson previews a new work for piano by Larry Sitsky