Peter Harvey arrived at Magdalen College, Oxford to study French and German, only later changing course to music, and a love of languages has always remained at the heart of his singing. On leaving university he went on to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, during which time he won prizes in a number of international singing competitions, including the Walther Grüner International Lieder Competition, the English Song Award, and the Peter Pears Award.
Peter has made around a hundred recordings in repertoire spanning eight centuries, with an emphasis on music from the High Baroque. Along with works by Handel and Purcell he has recorded all the major vocal works of J. S. Bach and many of the cantatas with conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe and Paul McCreesh. A fluent French speaker, Peter has recorded a great many sacred works of the French Baroque (Campra, Gilles, Lully, Charpentier, Lalande) including Rameau’s complete Grands Motets (with Le Concert Spirituel) and the secular cantatas for bass voice (with London Baroque, on BIS). From the late Romantic French repertoire he has recorded the Fauré Requiem twice with Michel Corboz, the latest version winning the “Choc de l’année” in Le Monde de la Musique, and very recently the Requiem by Duruflé also, with Magdalen College, Oxford. From the Classical era, The Gabrieli Consort’s new recording of Haydn’s Creation, for Deutsche Grammophon, on which Peter sings “Adam”, won the Grammy Award for the best choral recording of 2008.
Recent career highlights include Bach cantatas with Ton Koopman in Vienna’s Musikverein, the B minor Mass in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Die Winterreise with Roger Vignoles in Cambridge and Spain, Messiah in Toronto, a tour to the Far East with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment in the St John Passion and the St. Matthew Passion with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in Bernard Haitink’s first performances of the work. He recently recorded Schubert’s song-cycle Die Winterreise with fortepianist Gary Cooper.