Projects

A résumé of recent projects:

Theatre / film / live performance:

String arrangements; musical director; cello/harmonium/piano

Commissioned by 14-18 NOW and An Lanntair, Sàl by Iain Morrison in collaboration with visual artists Dalziel + Scullion marked the centenary of the sinking of the Iolaire, a yacht carrying troops home to the Isle of Lewis which hit rocks on Hogmanay 1919 just yards from home with the loss of 205 souls.

Performed at An Lanntair, Stornaway on 27th October and 29th December 2018, and Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow on 22nd January 2019 (as part of Celtic Connections)

★★★★ – The Scotsman

‘Performed at An Lanntair on 29 December, two days before the anniversary, Sal had a particular intensity. Morrison, whose great-grandfather died in the disaster, has produced a work which carries the weight of history without being subsumed by it, an intense, poetic meditation about loss, but also about life. The central section, Roinn (Share), speaks of a salt-water communion, a shared cup of tears, but also something which cleanses and heals.

Morrison’s composition takes its multi-part structure from a traditional pibroch, and also echoes at times the Hebridean tradition of Gaelic psalm-singing. Drawing deeply on the musical traditions of the islands, it is also entirely contemporary. At times, it is achingly beautiful, at times, angry; often, repetitive chords and drumbeats become relentless, like the waves, like the tragedy itself. Songs in English and Gaelic are meshed with short excerpts of survivors’ testimonies recorded by the BBC in 1959.

The heartfelt performance by Morrison and five other musicians is matched in its intensity by Dalziel + Scullion’s film footage, shot over some weeks on the Hebrides. Images of landscape and seascape, interiors, still lifes and even underwater footage marry closely the references in the music. Images take on particularly power in the light of the story: a knotted rope, a barometer, a man walking up a dirt road. Quiet interior shots evoke a domestic world equally touched by the disaster.’

Original score composed by Graeme Stephen for guitar and cello, to accompany 1920 silent film The Penalty, starring Lon Chaney as double amputee crime lord, Blizzard.

  • 24th March 2018 – Hippfest, Bo’ness Silent Film Festival
  • 1st December 2018 – Queens Hall Edinburgh
  • 2nd December 2018 – Glasgow Film theatre
  • 6th December 2018 – Macrobert Centre, Stirling
  • 7th December 2018 – Eden Court, Inverness
  • 6th January 2019 – DCA, Dundee

★★★★★ – The Scotsman

‘Stephen’s luscious, lyrical music – for the velvety combination of himself on guitar and Pete Harvey on cello – emphasised the film’s underlying melancholy over its Grand Guignol, however, conjuring remarkably rich, subtle textures.’

…a Play with Songs

By David Greig and Gordon McIntyre

August 4th – 26th :: The Hub, Edinburgh

Edinburgh International Festival

Band leader and music associate.

‘Gordon McIntyre’s songs are wonderfully tipsy, too, with an effortlessly cool band supporting Higgins and Pettigrew as they lollop around’

★★★★★ – the Guardian

‘You emerge from Kate Hewitt’s energetic staging on a high’ – New York Times

‘…the feel of an adult It’s a Knockout party game set to music. The latter is provided by long-time stalwarts of Edinburgh’s ever-fertile off-radar music scenes, bass player Clarissa Cheong and cellist Pete Harvey, plus actor-musician Reuben Joseph.’

★★★★ – The Herald

‘…a beautiful, mesmerising piece of storytelling that makes you fall in love with the show all over again.’

★★★★★ – British Theatre

★★★★ – Broadway Baby

Directed by John McPhail

Produced by Blazing Griffin

Music by Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly

String arrangements by Pete Harvey

Released 30th November 2018

‘exactly the zombie-filled teen-angst holiday musical you’ve been looking for‘ – Rolling Stone

‘it has the originality and crowd-pleasing energy to become a Christmas movie hit‘ – Variety

Modern Studies and Lomond Campbell, with the Pumpkinseeds Chamber Orchestra

Funded by Creative Scotland: Made in Scotland

in association with the Glad Cafe

Lomond Campbell performing Black River Promise

Modern Studies performing their as-yet unrecorded sophomore LP

 

String arrangements for Lomond Campbell by Pete Harvey;

String and brass arrangements for Modern Studies by Pete and Emily

 

Pumpkinseeds Chamber Orchestra:

Simon Graham
Kate Miguda
Seonaid Aitken
Liam Lynch
Alexis Bennett
Robin Mason
Harriet Davidson
Emily Scott
Tom Smith
Mikey Owers
Sarah Reid
Karina Smillie

 

Campbell and the orchestra’s set exudes a graceful patience, there are some more boisterous moments, but the majority is gracefully subdued, the lower end of the strings sounding like the gentle breathing of a sleeping giant…

‘[Modern Studies are] dynamic, thrilling and totally unpredictable throughout… parts recall big studio pop productions from the 70s while others bring to mind contemporary artists like Julia Holter and Joanna Newsom.

The Fountain

Each song is lifted above its solipsistic origins towards something more expansive, as Campbell’s incisive lyrics tenderly glide above Pete Harvey’s swelling orchestral accompaniments, often recalling Robert Kirby’s tastefully haunting string arrangements on Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left…

‘[Modern Studies’] new songs have a certain edge, a momentum and looseness that goes beyond Swell to Great’s pensive landscapes in pursuit of more dramatic outcrops of potent emotion; the soars and swoons of its longing carried forth in assured melodies, backed with lavish layers of brass, strings and vocal harmony…

‘SOUNDING is really about the intrinsically reciprocal beauty of songwriting and performance, the special magic that happens when a body like Creative Scotland puts money where it counts to facilitate a genuine treat of an evening.

Ravechild

A run of shows in the Edinburgh Fringe with jazz vocalist Jess Abrams

 

‘From the west side to the wild side, Bernstein to Reed, join New York vocalist Jess Abrams as she sings A Love Letter to New York. ‘Abrams finds her own meaning in each lyric and makes it her own’ (Jazz UK). ‘Invites you in and makes you feel so good you won’t want to leave… A stone delight’ (Jazzwise). Jess, her trio and special guests on strings, will cross the decades and leave you in a New York State of Mind… Join us… It’s gonna be a Cool night…’

 

Strings arranged by Pete at Pumpkinfield

Jess Abrams – vocal
Huw Rees – piano
Tom Lyne – double bass
Doug Hough – drums
Kate Miguda – violin
Pete Harvey – cello

 

A dream which spans approximately fifty years’ worth of music from the 1920s to the 1970s. What a joyous, if somewhat fleeting, moment this is amidst the chaos of festival season.’

The Student

Twonkey’s Drive-Thorugh: Jennifer’s Robot Arm

Musical director for Edinburgh Festival Fringe run of Paul Vickers’ dark comic play.

‘Dark demented comedy works on several levels with an impressive totality… a simply cracking cast who run with the insanity of Paul Vickers’ vision and make it their own – Miranda Shrapnell’s dementedly endearing Jennifer, Ben Nardone’s desperately affable Father, Vickers’ benignly sinister ‘Mr Twonkey as Inventor’, pianist Pete Harvey’s silky chords, while Simon Jay’s Pam wickedly steals the show with a torrent of cruel putdowns, libidinous asides and Valium-drenched double-takes.’

***** – the Stage

‘On piano, Pete Harvey deftly manages Vickers’ bizarre songs that, whilst not using prog rock obscure time signatures, undergo odd key changes and have lines that don’t scan or rhyme. It’s a sort-of trademark.

A lot of people are not going to ‘get’ this show at all. It’s Marmite. For me, it is a show of the skill of the writer and performers (and Jay as director) that deconstructs absurdism to a point you think is shoddy but you can clearly see by the professionalism of the performances is not. You will love it or hate it but you can’t ignore it.’

Highly Recommended – Fringe Review

A multi-artist tribute show for True North, curated by Emma Pollock
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, 25th Sep 2016
Strings arranged by Mister Harvey
Performed live by the Pumpkinseeds

Kate Miguda
Elita Poulter
Liam Lynch
Pete Harvey

‘Pollock herself opened the evening’s revels with a luminous Man With The Child In His Eyes, accompanied by a stellar string quartet whose sumptuous arrangements also enhanced the sensitivity and power of Kathryn Joseph’s rendition of Moments of Pleasure’

– ***** The Scotsman

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 28th Jan 2017

A multi-artist showcase for Celtic Connections, curated by Roddy Hart

House band: Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire, with the Pumpkinseeds string section

Strings arranged by Mister Harvey

Featured artists:

Emma Pollock
Kathryn Joseph
Yola Carter
James Graham
Roberta Sa
Scott Hutchison
Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Bryde
Field Music
Jesca Hoop
Sarah Jarosz
Rory Butler

The Pumpkinseeds:

Kate Miguda
Elita Poulter
Liam Lynch
Pete Harvey

Tonight embodies all that is special about Celtic Connections – unique, one-off performances and collaborations, the celebration of songs and songwriters.

**** – The Skinny

Music setting:

Client: Michael Jones (UK – 2017)
Work: Two Studies for ‘Doktor Faust’ – Arranged for 2 Pianos
Description: Copying and setting of a hand-written arrangement for publication

Client: Chisholm Trust (UK – 2016)
Work: Concerto for Orchestra  – Erik Chisholm
Background: Preparation of performance score for premiere
Description: Copying and setting of a hand-written arrangement for performance
Run: June 2016

Client: Peter Salem (UK – 2016)
Work: Broken Wings – Peter Salem
Background: A new work commissioned for English National Ballet’s ‘She Said’ series
Description: Transfer and edit of full orchestral score from Cubase into Sibelius;preparation of final score & instrumental parts.
Run: April 2016

Client: Peter Salem (UK – 2015)
Work: Camino Real – Peter Salem
Background: New work for production by Atlanta Ballet
Description: Editing and resetting of score and orchestral parts
Run: March 2015

Client: Scottish Ballet (UK – 2016)
Work: Hansel & Gretel – Engelbert Humperdinck
Background: A new reworking of Humperdinck’s opera
Description: Copying of full operatic score into Sibelius for adaptation by MD, preparation of final score and instrumental parts; provision of piano reduction 
Run:D ’13 – Jan ’14Dec ’16

Client: Ballet West (Utah, USA)
Work: The Lottery – Robert Moran
Background: A New work by Robert Moran based on the 1956 short story by Shirley Jackson
Description: Copying of full score from handwritten manuscript into Sibelius; arrangement and preparation of piano reduction; preparation of final score & instrumental parts.
Run: October 2013

Client: Scottish Ballet
Work: Highland Fling – Herman Severin Løvenskjo
Background: A reworking of La Sylphide for Matthew Bourne’s choreography.
Description: Copying low quality hand-written full score into Sibelius; preparation of final score & instrumental parts.
Run: April 2013 – May 2013

Client: Scottish Ballet
Work: A Streetcar Named Desire – Peter Salem
Background: A new full length work by composer Peter Salem
Description: Tidying and preparation of final score & instrumental parts
Run: April 2012 – May 2012