Natalia Harvey is a violinist and artistic leader who believes that music, through its storytelling power, is fundamentally about human connection, and that effective storytelling requires the mastery of performance craft.
A laureate of national and international solo competitions such as the Gisborne International Music Competition and the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition, she has been described as an artist of “elegance” (Sydney Morning Herald) and “sincerity” (Performing Arts Hub). She has performed solo with ensembles such as the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and with festival orchestras around the country.
Harvey studied with Tor Frømyhr at the Australian National University, and then with William Hennessy AM and Dr Robin Wilson at the Australian National Academy of Music. During her studies she was the recipient of the Kate Buchdahl Memorial Prize, the Holdsworth Family Bach Prize, and a scholarship with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Germany). A 2017 Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, she was also a participant in the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove (UK).
Harvey’s greatest passion is chamber music. She believes the versatility, intimacy and mobility of this particular form is the key to a sustainable musical future. Harvey’s engagements as a chamber musician range from string quartets to both period and contemporary ensembles, as well as chamber orchestras. She performs as a guest artist with ensembles such as Omega Ensemble, the Flinders Quartet, the Rubiks Collective, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and has performed as Principal Second Violin with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra since 2016.
With aspirations to build her own organisation in Australia, she has also turned her attention to the psychology of leadership, effective communication, optimum preparation and rehearsal management. Her musical vision is based on a deep understanding of the principles of blend, balance and rhetoric — skills which she acquired performing in string quartets. As part of her leadership pursuits, Harvey is currently developing her interest in conducting, and recently studied Orchestral Conducting at The Juilliard School with Professor Mark Shapiro. She has also directed projects as Guest Concertmaster with ensembles such as the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and the Melbourne Baroque Orchestra. Her direction style has been described as “clean and clear” (Limelight) and “fresh, exciting and inventive” (Classic Melbourne), with performances under her direction lauded as “incendiary” (Limelight) and “sensitively virtuosic” (Classic Melbourne).
Harvey has had the pleasure of collaborating closely with skilled Australian composers, directing premieres of many new works and performing as ensemble leader in new music festivals, such as the Extended Play Festival and the Dots+Loops Festival. Her dedication to quality new music is largely due to her childhood influences, having come from a family of Australian performers and pedagogues, all of whom are fiercely committed new music advocates. But she also grew up surrounded by the raw, earthy sounds of period instruments, with family members who were also period specialists. Whatever the style, an emphasis on excellence and passion was always at the heart of this diverse musical upbringing. Today in her own professional life, Harvey is an outspoken artist herself and finds herself singularly focussed on the same values. She simply aspires to cultivate a musical palette of unlimited possibilities as a performer, and her uncompromising artistic values compel her to choose her collaborations with thoughtful intent.
Harvey’s long-term vision as a top performer is to effect structural reform in the classical music scene through her own innovation of the industry model, with the aim of creating an environment of true artistic excellence. Her draft plan includes the use of data-driven outcomes and looking at economic and cultural trends across other fields to inform this new model.