Richard Harvey

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Richard Harvey
Richard Harvey attends the premiere of King Naresuan.
Richard Harvey attends the premiere of King Naresuan.
Background information
Birth nameRichard Allen Harvey
Born (1953-09-25) 25 September 1953 (age 68)
Enfield, Middlesex, England
Occupation(s)Multi-instrumentalist and composer
Years active1970s–present
Associated actsGryphon

Richard Allen Harvey (born 25 September 1953) is a BAFTA Award-winning English musician and composer.[1] 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.

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[edit]

Born in Enfield, Middlesex, England,[1] Harvey 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.[2] 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.[1] 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[edit]

After working with film composer Maurice Jarre in the mid 1970s, he became involved in composing for film and television.[1] 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[1] (and which won them, jointly, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award), Luther (2003) and, more recently, in 2006, Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code and Gabriel Range's Death of a President.

In addition he has been a musician on such films as The Lion King, Enemy of the State and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

In 1981, Richard Harvey's "Exchange" and "Water Course" from Harvey's "Nifty Digits" release (KPM Library #1251) were featured in a popular Sesame Street segment filmed at the Binney and Smith Crayola crayon factory in Easton, PA.[3]

Harvey also composed the theme song for TBS' World Championship Wrestling, called "Dynamics".

Harvey is also a prolific composer of production music and founding partner of West One Music Group along with Edwin Cox and Tony Prior. Arguably his most widely recognized piece is "Reach for the Stars," which has been used in numerous movie trailers, commercials, and television shows.[4] For example, the piece is used as the theme for Powdered Toast Man in The Ren and Stimpy Show, Help Wanted in SpongeBob SquarePants, and promotional material for Disney.

Other projects[edit]

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.[5]

Since 2005, "John Williams & Richard Harvey's World Tour" has appeared in many 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.

Harvey's first recorder concerto (Concerto Incantato) enjoyed its world premiere on Michala Petri's CD English Recorder Concertos in March 2012, alongside works by Malcolm Arnold and Gordon Jacob.

Career highlights[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 238. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 4 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Watercourse and Exchange - from How Crayons are made". YouTube. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  4. ^ ""Reach for the Stars" from Fantasia by Richard Harvey". YouTube. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Films and Classical". Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  6. ^ "BAFTA Awards (1992)". Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  7. ^ IMDb biography referenced by Harvey's own website

External links[edit]