Michael Kieran Harvey

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.

Australian pianist and composer Michael Kieran Harvey was born in Sydney and studied piano with Alan Jenkins, Gordon Watson, and at the Liszt Academy, Budapest, under Sándor Falvai. Based in Tasmania, his career has been notable for its diversity and wide repertoire. He has especially promoted the works of Australian and contemporary composers and recorded many 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).

As a pianist Harvey’s awards include the Grand Prix in the Ivo Pogorelich Competition, USA (1993 - the world’s richest at the time), the Debussy Medal, Paris (1986), the Australian government’s Centenary Medal (2002)and the 2009 APRA award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music. His compositions have been performed in Europe, the UK, North and South America and Asia, in addition to major Australian festivals. His compositions are held at the AMC. The Michael Kieran Harvey Scholarship was established in 2006 to encourage future directions in Australian keyboard art music.

In 2012 Michael gave the Peggy Glanville-Hicks address entitled "What would Peggy do?" discussing the cultural cringe in Australian classical music. You can watch it here:

Artist's website: www.mkharvey.com

Press quotes

“Michael Kieran Harvey plays superbly and with feeling”

— Elaine Siversen, 2MBS Fine Music Magazine

“Few Australian pianists can touch Michael Kieran Harvey, one of the most exciting exponents of contemporary music in the country”

— Clive O'Connell, The Age

“...Kieran-Harvey's pianisim is superb. He is truly one of the most, if not the most, interesting pianists in the country...”

— Patrick Holland, 4MBS Program Guide

“One of Zappa’s greatest passions was classical music. In high school, he studied classical composition, while simultaneously playing drums in a rhythm and blues band. Later in his career, he became a fan of the Synclavier (an early digital synthesizer) and worked with composers, including Pierre Boulez. His synclavier projects includedFrancesco Zappa and Civilization Phaze III. Sadly, this was his final opus, preceding his untimely death in 1993.
48 Fugues For Frank is an unpredictable, exhilarating tribute to one of rock’s greatest instrumental pioneers. Ten (not 48…perhaps a nod to Zappa humor) compositions reflect intensity and idiosyncratic progressions that link both composers. “Fugue #1 (Greggery Peccary, Pentagon Afternoon)” is bold and dramatic with sharp arpeggios and spirited rhythm patterns. Influenced by “The Girl In The Magnesium Dress”, the second piece is very percussive as Harvey attacks the piano with assured force. He introduces various classical legends into these songs. For “Jazz From Hell”, the pianist invokes Debussy and Bartok to interpret Zappa’s uncanny improvisational guitar chords (Note: The liner notes are extremely detailed and provide technical insight into the album). There is a jazzy quality to “Fugue #4 (Tink Runs Amok) which utilizes a 12/8 time signature, but maintains a stark resonance.
Each track has its own identity and flair. Fugue #5 (exploring Zappa’s underappreciated “Civilization Phaze III”) has some quasi-romantic finesse, but still erupts with fury. He captures rapid intensity on “G-Spot Tornado” with unrelenting tempo. Taking on another gem from Jazz In Hell (“St. Etienne/Guitar Solo”) Harvey draws on classical roots to invoke melodic terse patterns. Returning to percussive eminence, the beginning notation on “Fugue #8 (Ruth is Sleeping”) sustains an intricate contrapuntal exploration. The final composition (“Baby Snakes”) exhibits moments of lyrical harmonic fluency. As with many of the cuts, there is a fiery evolution.
Like Zappa, pianist Michael Kieran Harvey is fearless and inventive. 48 Fugues For Frank is a unique tribute.” ★★★★

— Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition

Michael Kieran Harvey is featured on the following titles

Portrait of Bob Brown

Performer: piano, Composer

This CD has been produced to support the work of the Bob Brown Foundation. It includes two works by Michael Kieran Harvey and one by violinist Emily Sheppard.

Michael Bertram Fantaisie-Sonata

Performer: Piano

Larry Sitsky wrote that composer Michael Bertram 'writes fierce but exciting piano music'. Michael Kieran Harvey performance on this disc is the equal of that description. As well as a long major work this recording presents an interesting variety of shorter works all by Bertram.

70 More Variations on "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"

Performer: piano, Composer

The tune "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" has fascinated and irritated composers through the ages. In this second collection Julian Yu has commissioned a staggeringly diverse cornucopia of stylistic arrangements of the tune. Michael Kieran Harvey tackles scores from the frivolous to the frenetic, the fragile to the fragrant, the popular to the profound.

126 Variations on "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"

Performer: Piano

Michael Kieran Harvey performs 126 variations on the theme "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" which are composed by Julian Yu. Julian Yu's project presents the tune in an immense range of styles, many of which develop out of well-known classical pieces, as well as jazz and folk music.


Performer: Piano, Composer

This music CD and performance DVD is a celebration of Patañjali’s Yoga-Sūtra in music and āsana (2015) composed by Michael Kieran Harvey who also plays various keyboards, Arabella Teniswood Harvey (piano) and Eugene Ughetti (percussion).



Michael Kieran Harvey plays Australian masterworks for piano of the last fifty years. The composers represented on this great recording include Raymond Hanson, Gordon Kerry, Brendan Colbert, Helen Gifford and Neil Kelly.


Performer: piano

Michael Kieran Harvey plays two works by composer Elliott Gyger. Michael says: "They bookend Elliott’s extraordinary musical universe – which, like Messiaen, appeared fully-formed at a precocious age, to extend in profundity and depth throughout an already long and stellar career."


Performer: Piano, Composer

A collection of Michael Kieran Harvey’s compositions from 2007-2013 ranging in mood from the relatively serious to cheerful pastiche. Harvey is joined by the very brightest young instrumentalists Australia has to offer.

Butterfly Modernism


This is composer Eve Duncan’s third release, a 2-CD set, and it heralds new approaches in her music.

Astra 60

Performer: Piano

This CD captures a concert of Australian piano music given in celebration of Astra's support of Australian music and artists. For 60 years the Astra Chamber Music Society has presented new Australian music and Australian performers within a context of international new music developments, always informed by cultural perspectives.

48 Fugues for Frank

Performer: Piano, Composer

A musical homage to the life and work of Frank Zappa, composed and performed by Michael Kieran Harvey, and complemented by Lingua Franka - concrete poetry by Arjun von Caemmerer.


Performer: Piano, Composer

Australian piano music by Gifford, Gould, Ford, Yu and Michael Kieran Harvey. Elektra is an experiment in extending acoustic piano sound via computer, and was a collaboration with sound engineer Michael Hewes, who surfed the piano resonances in real time.

Dimensions of Night

Performer: Piano

Michael Kieran Harvey performs Larry Sitsky's epic piano work. Dimensions of Night draws on ancient legend, myth and spiritual history. The epic employs a series of chords to underpin the sequence of harmonies throughout the whole cycle.

The School of Natural Philosophy

Performer: piano, Arranger

Michael Kieran Harvey plays new music for keyboard. Featuring the works of Graham Hair, Douglas Knehans, Martin Friedel, Richard Meale and Hilda Paredes.

Crystal Vision

Performer: Piano

This instalment of the Michael Kieran Harvey Collection features the piano music of Kanako Okamoto. The album features two pieces written for Harvey, Petite Suite and Suite in addition to the title track, Crystal Vision, which served as Harvey's introduction to Okamoto's work.

Broadway Boogie

Performer: Piano, Composer

Broadway Boogie is a collection of new music for piano featuring works by Nigel Westlake, Andrew Ford, Andrew Byrne, Mark Pollard and Michael Kieran Harvey. It won the best classical CD of 2008 in Melbourne's Herald-Sun.

In the Time of Sakura - the Piano Music of Mike Nock

Performer: Piano

Played by Michael Kieran Harvey. The pieces themselves are quite eclectic, a result of a wide range of influences, including arrangements/adaptations of established pieces as well as music specifically written for this collection.

The Way of the Seeker

Performer: Piano

Written by Larry Sitsky in 2004, The way of the seeker is a highly virtuosic piano work played by Michael Kieran Harvey. It is is based on thematic material derived from fragments of oriental chant.

Preludes and Sonata of Messiaen and Shostakovich

Performer: Piano

Michael Kieran Harvey, piano. Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) and Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) were two of the greatest composers of the twentieth century. Both were remarkable in that they discovered their own unique and distinctive creative voice when they were in their teens.

David Joseph Selected Works, Volume 2


The second volume in this series features performances from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The Academy of Melbourne, and pianist, Michael Kieran Harvey

Catalogue d'oiseaux

Performer: Piano

Virtuoso pianist Michael Kieran Harvey's dazzling pianistic pyrotechnics are displayed to the full in this amazing live performance recorded in Hobart in April 2005. Each of the 13 pieces in the Catalogue d'oiseaux (Catalogue of birds) explores the calls and environment of a single bird species.

Rabid Bay

Performer: Piano, Composer

Michael Kieran Harvey is one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary piano music of his generation. This recording presents some of Australia's cutting edge piano music - bold and experimental, but also increasingly lyrical, was nominated for a 2005 ARIA award.

Tensile Flame

Performer: Piano

Michael Kieran Harvey, piano. The first disc traces the influence of the Liszt B minor Sonata on three early 20th Century composers: Rachmaninov, Ravel and Skryabin. The second features contemporary music by Australian composer Carl Vine.

A Handful of Rain

Performer: Piano

Inspired by the Gamelan and Japanese Shinto music, the recent ambient work of Mark Clement Pollard is unique in its pursuit of beauty and simplicity. A Handful of Rain is the first comprehensive collection of this acclaimed Australian composer's popular style.

Compositions by Michael Kieran Harvey also appear on

Carpe Diem


This recording celebrates the ongoing attraction of Italy and especially Rome as a place of artistic pilgrimage and inspiration.

Michael Kieran Harvey also appears on

Music of Don Kay

Performer: Piano

Works for piano, flute, and cello. Of the six works, four have been composed for the performers on this CD, including the three piano sonatas, which receive their premiere performances.

Curiosities - Chamber Music by Eve Duncan

Performer: Piano

A collection of chamber music by Australian composer Eve Duncan. This new CD features recordings of her work performed by artists from Australia and overseas including the Australian National Academy of Music String Ensemble and Michael Kieran Harvey.


Performer: Piano

This album spans nearly a quarter of a century of composition in the field of chamber music by Peter Tahourdin. The pieces reflect Peter's compositional metamorphosis and encompass a myriad of influences and themes, from Indian ragas to the Carmina Burana.