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Artist Hyperion Records
Harvey, Peter (bass)
© Eric Richmond

Peter Harvey (bass)

Peter Harvey studied music at Magdalen College, Oxford, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Having initially set out to read French and German, his commitment to language has always been at the heart of his singing. Although he sings a wide repertoire, he has become especially associated with music from the High Baroque, and the works of J S Bach in particular, in performances ranging from the minimalist—such as with his own group, the Magdalena Consort, singing one voice per part—to Bernard Haitink’s first performances of the St. Matthew Passion in 2008, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

With the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir, directed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, he was a key participant in the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, recordings of which include the celebrated solo cantata Ich habe genug and Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, which were chosen as the recordings of choice by Radio France’s ‘La tribune des Critiques de Disques’ and the BBC’s ‘Building a Library’ respectively. A long-standing soloist with Paul McCreesh’s Gabrieli Consort, he sang Adam in their recording of Haydn’s Creation (winner of a Grammy Award), and also sings in their recordings of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Handel’s Solomon and the Monteverdi Vespers, and in venues including the Châtelet (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York) and the Barbican (London). Another long-term collaboration is with The King’s Consort (concerts in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall; The Sage, Gateshead; London’s Wigmore Hall) in their many recordings, which include the Monteverdi Vespers, music by Bach’s predecessors and Michael Haydn’s Requiem under Robert King, and most recently, Handel’s Parnasso in Festa, directed by Matthew Halls. He has recorded Buxtehude and early Bach with the Purcell Quartet, and with London Baroque he recently issued a disc of Rameau’s secular cantatas (BIS). He has appeared with the Sixteen (BBC Proms, Spain, Brazil) and sings regularly with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Ivan Fischer and Gustav Leonhardt, with concerts in London, Europe and the Far East.

A fluent French speaker, Peter Harvey has worked for many continental groups, in particular the Chapelle Royale and Collegium Vocale of Ghent (Philippe Herreweghe), making recordings which include C P E Bach’s Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu (Opéra Garnier, Paris). He has sung with Christophe Rousset’s Les Talens Lyriques in the Opera at Versailles, whilst with Le Concert Spirituel, directed by Hervé Niquet, he has made countless recordings of the sacred repertoire of the French Baroque, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and King Arthur (Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and Opéra Comique, Paris), and La Cambiale de Matrimonio (Slook) by Rossini. Recordings with Il Seminario Musicale and the French counter-tenor Gérard Lesne include such rarities as Scarlatti’s oratorio Sedecia, and Galuppi’s engaging Confitebor tibi Domine, and he has performed often with Jean-Claude Malgoire. His long association with the Swiss conductor Michel Corboz, has taken him throughout France, Portugal, Switzerland and Japan (Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Passions), and produced various recordings, including two versions of the Requiem by Fauré, the latest of which won a ‘Choc de l’année’ in Le Monde de la Musique.

Peter is a frequent guest of the Netherlands Bach Society, with whom he has recorded Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, B minor Mass and St Matthew Passion, and for television, the little known St John Passion by Georg Gebel at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. With Ton Koopman he has performed Bach in the Musikverein (Vienna), Théâtre des Champs Elysées (Paris), in Verona and Rome. In Germany he sings with the Akademie für alte Musik, Berlin, Stuttgart Bach Akademie, La Stagione, Frankfurt (Athalia, Handel Festival, Halle), and with Frieder Bernius’ Stuttgart Chamber Choir, with whom he recorded Handel’s Messiah.

He is returning increasingly to the Song repertoire, performing Schubert’s Winterreise with Roger Vignoles in festivals in Cambridge and Lugo, Spain. He has given recitals in festivals in Britain, Canada and France, and recorded Beethoven settings of Scottish folksongs with Jérôme Hantaï’s fortepiano trio (for Naïve). Other recitals include early Lieder with Laurence Cummings, Mozart in Barcelona and a programme of Lute Songs and Lieder in London’s Purcell Room with Matthew Wadsworth (lute and 19th-century guitar) and Gary Cooper.

Peter is founder and director of the Magdalena Consort, which focuses on the vocal music of J S Bach, and has performed internationally in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in the ‘Bach Church’ in Arnstadt, Germany, in Hungary, Istanbul and Britain, in programmes including music by J S Bach and Handel, and in Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 in the Cheltenham Festival.


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