Jonathan Harvey, an admired British composer, died Dec. 4, 2012. He was 73, and had Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Harvey graduated from Cambridge in 1960, and in 1964 earned a doctorate from the University of Glasgow. Already influenced by traditional music, and with his reputation established, Harvey wanted a new discipline for his music and came to Princeton in 1969 on a non-degree fellowship to study with the modernist Milton Babbitt *92.
Harvey was one of the first composers to work at Pierre Boulez’s musical research institute, IRCAM, in Paris. He learned the language of computer music and, with new ways of using non-Western influences, Harvey became a modernist composer whose concert and opera works reflected deep engagement with spirituality.
He worked with the leading ensembles and festivals in Europe. One of his last works, “Weltethos” (celebrating Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), premiered with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2011. At the 50th-anniversary celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, traditional Christian choral music of Harvey’s was performed in Westminster Abbey. He also was a professor of music at the University of Sussex (1977-1993) and Stanford (1995-2000).
Harvey is survived by Rosa, his wife; and two children.
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