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Richard Harvey attends the premiere of King Naresuan.
25 September 1953 |
|Occupation(s)||Multi-instrumentalist and composer|
Richard Harvey (born 25 September 1953) is a BAFTA Award–winning English musician and composer. Originally of the mediaevalist progressive rock group Gryphon, he is best known now for his film and television soundtracks. He is also known for his guitar concerto Concerto Antico, which was composed for the guitarist John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra.
Harvey is sometimes confused with fellow British composer/musician Richard Hartley because of their similar last names.
In April 2012, UK radio listeners voted Richard Harvey's Concerto Antico into the Classic FM Hall of Fame for the first time.
Early life and career
Born in London, Harvey soon became involved in music, learning the recorder when he was four years old, switching first to percussion and later playing clarinet in the British Youth Symphony Orchestra. By the time he graduated from London's Royal College of Music in 1972, he was accomplished on the recorder, flute, krumhorn, and other mediaeval and Renaissance-era instruments, as well as the mandolin and various keyboards. He could have joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra, but instead chose to work with Musica Reservata, an early music ensemble. He subsequently met another RCM graduate, Brian Gulland, and went on to form the progressive rock and folk band Gryphon. During that period, he also worked with other folk rock musicians such as Richard and Linda Thompson and Ashley Hutchings. When Gryphon wound down in the late 1970s, he became a session musician, playing on Kate Bush's Lionheart, Gerry Rafferty's Night Owl, Sweet's Level Headed and Gordon Giltrap's Fear of the Dark and The Peacock Party, among others. He also had a brief spell in New Wave outfit The Banned.
Film and television career
After working with film composer Maurice Jarre in the mid 1970s, he became involved in composing for film and television. His first work was to provide music for the television series Tales of the Unexpected in 1979. He has subsequently supplied scores to over 80 television and film projects.
Notable works include 1979's Martian Chronicles ending titles, the horror film House of the Long Shadows (1983), 1984's wistful Shroud for a Nightingale theme for the PD James detective series, the action sequel The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985), British films such as The Assam Garden (1985), Steaming (1985), Defence of the Realm (1986) and Half Moon Street (1986), Alan Bleasdale's G.B.H in 1991, which he co-wrote with Elvis Costello (and which won them, jointly, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award), Luther (2003) and, most recently, in 2006, Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code and Gabriel Range's Death of a President.
In 1981, Richard Harvey's "Exchange" and "Water Course" from Harvey's "Nifty Digits" release (KPM Library #1251) are featured in a famous Sesame Street segment filmed at the Binney and Smith Crayola crayon factory in Easton, PA. The first Sesame Street episode to feature this classic segment was Episode #1590 which was originaly aired on December 11, 1981. Today, it's still considered one of the best Sesame Street segments of all time. As well as one of the best overall short films of the 1980s. This is mainly because of the awesome music that plays in the background during the factory part (Exchange, 1980).
Harvey also composed the theme song for TBS' World Championship Wrestling, called "Dynamics".
Harvey is also a prolific composer of production music.
In 1984, he was a conductor on one of a series of classic rock albums by the London Symphony Orchestra. He has frequently toured and recorded with the guitarist John Williams on projects including the 2002 album Magic Box. He also played on the 2004 album The Opera Band by pop/classical crossover act Amici Forever, which reached #74 on the Billboard Top 200 albums and #2 on the Billboard Top Classical crossover chart. He worked with Elvis Costello on his 2006 album My Flame Burns Blue. A skilled multi-instrumentalist, he has a collection of over 700 different instruments from around the world.
Since 2005, "John Williams & Richard Harvey's World Tour" has appeared in many different countries, from Japan and China to Ireland and Luxembourg, with the duo playing a mixture of world and classical music spanning five continents and five centuries, featuring Chinese, African and European instruments.
- 1974 Release of Gryphon's Red Queen to Gryphon Three
- 1977 Composed station theme for Hospital Radio Moorfields (on air 1974-2006)
- 1983 Composed music for Gerry Anderson's Terrahawks
- 1984 Principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for Classic Rock
- 1987 Composed music for the Children's ITV series The Gemini Factor
- 1988 Regular member of John Williams and Friends
- 1989 Composed Oratorio Plague and the Moonflower (to libretto by Ralph Steadman performed in Exeter, Salisbury, Canterbury and St Paul's Cathedral, and recipient of Best BBC TV Art's Film in 1990)
- 1991 British Academy award for the score for GBH (with Elvis Costello)
- 1991 Composed A Time of Miracles for W11 Opera
- 1994 Performed all featured woodwind solos on the score for The Lion King
- 1995 Composed Concerto Antico for John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra
- 1998 Composed the theme for BBC's series "The Ambassador" 
- 1999 Composed the score for the Jim Henson Company's Animal Farm
- 2000 Composed score for the acclaimed Hallmark project Arabian Nights
- 2001 Composed score for the Thai historical epic The Legend of Suriyothai
- 2002 Composed score for feature film Luther
- 2004 Subhanahongsa Award from the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand for The Macabre Case of Prom Piram
- 2005 Composed Ivor Novello nominated score for feature-length drama, Colditz
- 2005 Composed score for feature film Three aka Survival Island
- 2006 Composed score for Death of a President, International Critics' Award winning film at Toronto Film Festival (September 2006)
- 2007 Composed score for King Naresuan, the follow-up to Suriyothai
- 2009 Composed recorder concerto (Concerto Incantanto) for Michala Petri and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
- 2014 Conducted the score to Interstellar