Jonathan Harvey, composer, 3 May 1939 - 4 December 2012
5 December 2012
Jonathan Harvey, who has died aged 73© Maurice Foxall
Jonathan Harvey, one of the foremost British composers of his generation, has died aged 73.
He had been suffering from motor neurone disease.
His music was intertwined with his Buddhist religion, but spirituality of all kinds had a great influence on his work. He decided to become a composer at the age of 11, during an organ voluntary while he was a member of the choir at St Michael’s College, Tenbury.
Harvey studied music at St John’s College, Cambridge, obtaining his doctorate in 1972, and was a longstanding academic at the University of Sussex, where he held various posts from 1977 to 1993 and was an honorary professor. He taught at Stanford University from 1995 to 2000.
He was invited by Pierre Boulez to work at IRCAM (the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) in the 1980s and he wrote several pieces while working under its auspices, including Wagner Dream, his third opera, which was premiered by Netherlands Opera in 2007 and given its UK premiere in a semi-staged performance in January 2012. It will be given its fully staged UK premiere by Welsh National Opera in June 2013.
In October 2012 he was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and his Messages for choir and orchestra was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s award for large-scale composition in May 2012.
A full obituary will follow in Classical Music's 15 December issue.
Jonathan Harvey 3 May 1939 - 4 December 2012