Bernadette Harvey’s career as a pianist commenced early when she won her first medal in the Sydney Eisteddfod at the age of two and a half. She went on to win the ABC ‘Young Performer of the Year’ and performed in recitals and as a soloist with all the Australian Symphony Orchestras, presenting eight different piano concertos. In 2000, Bernadette was awarded a Centenary Medal by the then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, for her contributions to Australian Music.
Ms Harvey’s recent appearances in the US include the 2015 Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival where she performed with the Prazak Quartet, Joseph Lin, Axel Strauss and others. She followed the festival with a series of solo recitals at the University of Arizona, Indiana University and the Eastman School of Music in which she gave the US premiere of Australian composer, Ross Edwards first solo piano sonata written for.
Bernadette has been a guest artist at the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival in Tucson, Arizona, many times since 2009. She has worked with such artists as Ani Kavafian, Joseph Lin, Antonio Lysy, Paul Coletti and Alan Vogel. In March 2012 she presented the world premiere of Pierre Jalbert’s piano quintet, “Secret Alchemy”, and performed with the Tokyo Quartet. Carl Vine’s Piano Quintet, Fantasia, was premiered by her in 2013 with the Shanghai Quartet in Tucson and again in Australia for the Melbourne Festival in October 2013.
Bernadette performed to critical acclaim at the 2008 Huntington Festival both as a soloist – performing Alternating Current by American composer Kevin Puts – and as a collaborator, most notably with international cellist Jian Wang performing the Brahms cello sonatas. Other regular festival appearances include the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Castlemaine Festival, Victoria, the TURA Festival, Perth, Four Winds and Aurora, amongst others.
In 2009 Bernadette performed Stockhausen’s Kontakte in Perth, Brisbane and the Sydney Opera House with Percussionist Claire Edwardes to critical acclaim. These performances came on the back of performances of Harrison Birtwistle’s Axe Manual for the same combination at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the Aurora Festival. Bernadette enjoys the challenge presented by such complex works and collaborations. As Artistic Director of her own Freshwater Chamber Music Festival, she regularly commissions new works by Australian and overseas composers.
Following early studies in Australia Bernadette travelled to Canada, England and France studying for a short time with Robert Silverman and Cecile Ousset. After a brief return home, she won several overseas scholarships and two Australia Council Grants, which provided the means for further study in the USA. Bernadette studied with Nelita True and was her Teaching Assistant at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and graduated with a Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts.
After winning various prizes in numerous international competitions, Bernadette returned to Australia where she was immediately offered the Artistic Directorship of the 1997 Australian Women’s Music Festival. Currently, she is Lecturer in Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Apart from her activities as a performer, Bernadette is researching into the area of injury-preventive keyboard technique, encouraging her students to form healthy practice habits and ensuring them a long and happy career with their instrument.