Jonathan Harvey


Born: May 3, 1939 Died: December 5, 2012
Jonathan Harvey can be thought of as an English Stockhausen: he is perhaps best known for integrating electronically generated sound with live music in the service of a mystical outlook with many (especially non-Western) philosophical influences. However, Harvey's large output also contains many accessible choral pieces and acoustic avant-garde works for orchestra or chamber ensemble.

While a student at Cambridge, Harvey studied composition privately with Erwin Stein and Hans Keller (following the advice of Benjamin Britten), from whom he learned the basics of serial technique. In 1966, Harvey had a "Stockhausen conversion," and the German composer's alternately complex and simple textures had an immediate influence on him, most apparently in the instrumental pieces written from the late-'60s through the 1970s, such as Quantumplation (1973) for chamber ensemble. Harvey spent much of the 1980s at IRCAM, the new-music research center in Paris under the direction of Pierre Boulez. In the first compositional result of this period, Mortuos plango, vivos voco (1980), Harvey combined the sound of his son's singing with that of a bell at Winchester Cathedral, with an effect similar to that of Stockhausen's Gesang der J√ľnglinge. Another important IRCAM composition was Ritual Melodies (1990) for tape, in which Harvey continually transforms synthesized instrumental and vocal sounds and their associated melodies. Harvey has taught in various English and American universities, and in 1995 began teaching composition at Stanford University in California.

There are 35 Jonathan Harvey recordings available.

See All Recordings, or browse by Composition Type, Popular Work, or Formats & Featured