Michael Kieran Harvey

Australian pianist and composer, Dr Michael Kieran Harvey FAHA, 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. 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 (premiering more than 300 Australian works alone) and recorded many solo CDs on various labels. Harvey is on the guest faculty of the Australian National Academy of Music, is Adjunct Professor at University of Tasmania and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

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 holds a PhD in composition and has recorded much of his own music for Move. 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 trio Deus est Fabula was premiered by Plexus at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's 2014 Metropolis series at the Melbourne Recital Centre. A live CD/DVD recording of his epic Iyengar yoga and ensemble work Patañjali (2015) was released on the Move label and received an AMC/APRA Tasmanian State Award for Instrumental Work of the Year in 2016. Piano sonata no. 3 Aporia was premiered at the MSO's 2016 Metropolis series. Piano sonatas nos. 4, 5 (Greta), and 6 (17 Graeme Lee prints) were released in 2019-2021. His 90-minute Green Brain Cycle (based on the eponymous Frank Herbert novel) was premiered at the Mona Foma Festival in 2018, and was critically acclaimed as a festival highlight. This festival version was released on a 2CD format by Move in 2018. The epic Catalogue des Errances Bibliques for eight keyboardists and four percussionists appeared in 2021.

In 1993 Harvey became the first Australian to win a major international piano competition, the Inaugural Ivo Pogorelich International Solo Piano Competition in Pasadena, the world's richest piano competition. Other awards include: the Debussy Medal, Paris (1986), the Australian government’s Centenary Medal (2002), the 2009 APRA award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music and the 2020 APRA "Luminary" award. 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. Recipients: 2006 - Cameron Roberts; 2008 - Ashley Hribar; 2010 - Zubin Kanga; 2012 - Aura Go and Adam Cook; 2014 - Dr James Hullick; 2016 - Alex Rainieri and Nicholas Young; 2018 - Rohan Drape; 2020 - Dr Anthony Pateras.

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:

Press quotes

“Michael Kieran Harvey plays superbly and with feeling”

— Elaine Siversen, 2MBS Fine Music Magazine

“In years to come, the current era may well be seen as a golden age for Australian piano composition .. For sheer virtuosity, and for bringing out the best in an entire generation of Australian composers, there are few who can match Harvey.”

— Martin Buzacott, Limelight

“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

“As we've com to expect, Michael Kieran Harvey's performances of all these works are astounding ... Highly recommended”

— Michael Hannan, MCA Music Forum Feb 2007

“An unpredictable, exhilarating tribute to one of rock’s greatest instrumental pioneers. 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 one of Australia's great pianists.”

Limelight Magazine

Michael Kieran Harvey is featured on the following titles

Catalogue des Errances Bibliques

Performer: piano & keyboards, Composer

This is Michael Kieran Harvey's epic catalogue of Biblical errors for eight keyboardists and four percussionists, together with spoken narration written and spoken by Arjun von Caemmerer. There are 25 musical passages interspersed with 25 short narratives.

Piano Sonata #6: 17 Graeme Lee Prints

Performer: piano, Composer

Composed and performed by Michael Kieran Harvey during the 2020 pandemic, Piano Sonata #6 was commissioned by artist Graeme Lee in response to 17 prints he produced in July 2020. The music, the prints and Arjun von Caemmerer’s aphorisms are highly contrasting and individual.


Performer: keyboards, Composer

This is Michael Kieran Harvey's fifth piano sonata, heard here in both a conventional piano version, as well as an electric keyboard interpretation. It is sub-titled 'Greta' in recognition of climate change activist Greta Thunberg. It is sub-sub-titled 'Concerto in no need of an orchestra'.

Move 50

Performer: piano, Composer

A special CD to celebrate Move Records’ 50th year. Twenty-four Australian composers were invited to create a new short work for this special commemorative disc.


Performer: piano, Composer, Arranger

This release of original compositions by Harvey includes solo and ensemble works centred around the monumental fourth piano sonata, a homage to the courageous anti-fascist Antonio Gramsci. This anti-fascist theme percolates through all the works, which range in mood from nostalgically whimsical to furiously satirical.

Dancing to the Tremors of Time

Performer: piano

A collection of music reflecting the art of Mona – eclectic, surreal and powerful. Michael Kieran Harvey performs new works by seven Australian composers.

Music from 4 to 40 Parts

Performer: piano

Angeli Vocal ensemble, pianist Michael Kieran Harvey, chamber choir Ensemble Gombert, and the Four Seasons String Quartet perform the music of Melbourne composer Vaughan McAlley. It is a fascinating exploration of music written for 4 parts, and up to 40 parts in Vaughan's unique approach to counterpoint.

Luz Meridional (Southern Light)

Performer: piano

A CD with bonus DVD. Luz Meridional was composed by Andrián Pertout for pianist Michael Kieran Harvey. Comprising 24 solo piano études each piece contains a quotation from an early Australian composer.

The Green Brain Cycle

Performer: keyboards, Composer

This is Michael Kieran Harvey’s 92 minute multi-instrument solo extravaganza inspired by Frank Herbert’s 1966 futuristic ecological novel “The Green Brain”, with amusing concrete poetry by Arjun von Caemmerer.


Performer, Composer

Michael Kieran Harvey performs his third piano sonata in the context of four contemporary Australian works that showcase the diversity of Australia's 21st century musical languages.

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 by Julian Yu on the theme Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. 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

Elephantasy: orchestral and operatic music of Eve Duncan

Performer: Piano

Orchestral, chamber and operatic music by composer Eve Duncan, performed by a variety of different ensembles and performers.

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.