Jonathan Harvey (composer)

For other people named Jonathan Harvey, see Jonathan Harvey (disambiguation).

Jonathan Dean Harvey (3 May 1939 – 4 December 2012[1][2]) was a British composer. He held teaching positions at universities and music conservatories in Europe and the USA and was frequently invited to teach in summer schools around the world.


Harvey was born in Sutton Coldfield, and studied at St John's College, Cambridge, eventually obtaining a PhD.[3] He also took private lessons with Erwin Stein and Hans Keller on the advice of Benjamin Britten.[3] In 1969 he took up a Harkness Fellowship at Princeton University.[3] In the 1980s Harvey produced much music at IRCAM after receiving an invitation from Pierre Boulez to work there.[3]

At IRCAM, Harvey produced works such as Speakings, a composition for large orchestra and electronics, in collaboration with sound artist and composer Gilbert Nouno and researchers Arshia Cont and Grégoire Carpentier. The concept of the piece was to "make an orchestra speak".[4] IRCAM is known for speech analysis and in this piece, special technology was developed to allow the analysis of speech to be realized in an orchestral context, using complex algorithms which can process multiple combinations possible in an orchestra setting. The program Orchidée computed such analyses and provided possible orchestrations for the composer.

From 2005 to 2008, Harvey held the post of Composer in Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.[5]

In 2009 he was Composer in Residence at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.[6][7] He died, aged 73, in Lewes.


Selected works


  1. Jonathan Harvey 1939-2012
  2. Richard Morrison (5 December 2012). "British Composer Jonathan Harvey Dies". The Times. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Biography - Jonathan Harvey: Faber Music Ltd (July 2010)
  4. Bob Shingleton (5 September 2010). "Chance Music with Jonathan Harvey". Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  5. Jonathan Harvey, composer's biography
  6. Composer in Residence Jonathan Harvey in conversation, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
  7. Jonathan Harvey: HCMF focus 2009, Faber Music

Further reading

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