Last month, Michael Kieran Harvey was one of two to share the first prize at the first Ivo Pogorelich Solo Piano Competition in Pasadena. He took home to Melbourne, Australia, a $75,000 check, a promise of concert dates in Spain and Germany and a recording contract from Hong Kong-based Naxos Marco Polo.
The competition was a breakthrough for Harvey, who claims there's "absolutely no market" for mainstream classical pianists in Australia. Reviewing Harvey's unorthodox final-round program of works by Prokofiev, Beethoven, Berio, Vine and Messiaen, Times music writer Daniel Cariaga observed: "The Australian pianist's way with all this music was one of authority, abundant resources of tone, dynamics and nuance, and utter artistic conviction, which seemed to reach and touch the audience. . . ."