Richard Harvey MMus BMus(Hons) FRSM AMusTCL was born in Slough in 1973 and began learning the trombone at the age of eleven. Leaving school at sixteen, he joined the Royal Marines Band Service and studied under the renowned orchestral trombonist Albert Thompson. During his time under training Richard won the prestigious Cassel Prize – an annual instrumental competition, and was subsequently awarded a silver medal by the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
In 1994 he was drafted to the band onboard Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia and spent the next three years travelling extensively around the world, performing to world leaders such as Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela, as well as Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family.
Richard began conducting in earnest in 2003, and after completing the year-long Bandmasters’ Course at the Royal Marines School of Music, he enjoyed tenures as the conductor of the Warsash Community Band and Southampton Concert Wind Band – an ensemble consisting of over fifty instrumentalists – and during his time with them he led the band on a very successful tour of Bavaria. In 2007 Richard was selected for commission, promoted Captain Royal Marines and appointed a Director of Music, and over the next six years he ran three RM bands, took a year’s sabbatical to study for his Master’s degree at the Royal Northern College of Music and served on a six-month operational tour to Afghanistan as the Adjutant of the United Kingdom Medical Group – a challenging yet rewarding experience.
In 2012 Richard became the first member of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines to be admitted a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music before retiring from the Service after a full military career in 2013. Over the next two years he worked extensively within the local musical scene in Devon, holding positions as the Musical Director of the South West Communications Brass Band and as conductor of the Exeter University Symphony Orchestra. He also performed masterclasses and workshops with local schools, as well as playing trombone for the Exeter Symphony Orchestra. As the co-founder of the Tiverton Poetry and Musical Café evenings, Richard was instrumental in helping to raise the profile of amateur performing arts in Mid Devon.
In 2015 Richard was appointed Bandmaster of the prestigious and historic Royal Hospital School in Suffolk; only the sixth incumbent of the role since 1906, and over the next three years was responsible for running the concert band, parade band, brass ensemble, orchestra and big band; the highlight of which included a performance for HM The Queen at Newmarket. He is also very active as a freelance trombonist, playing with the Ipswich Musicians’ Union Big Band and several local orchestras. In 2017 Richard enjoyed a six-month tenure as the musical director of the Suffolk Concert Band.
In September 2019 Richard took up his current position as Lecturer in Classical Performance and Conducting at the University of Salford, where his duties include conducting the famous university brass band. In February 2020 Richard led the band to victory at the UniBrass contest, competing against prestigious institutions such as the Royal Northern College of Music.
Richard is also the founding owner of Blast Off Brass; a workshop-based initiative to introduce brass playing to primary school pupils using the revolutionary pBuzz instruments, and in September 2020 he was incredibly proud to assume the role of Education Ambassador for Warwick Music Group. Richard said: “I have worked alongside WMG on various projects over the last five years or so, and have always been impressed by their innovative approach to music education. I am a fan of the pBuzz and use it to great effect in my workshops, and I am looking forward to incorporating the new pBugle into my sessions. I am incredibly excited to have been given this new role, and I am keen to get involved in as many projects with them as I can.”
Richard has performed at the Royal Albert Hall as a soloist and twice as a conductor at the Mountbatten Festival of Music. He composed The Forces Anthem to Her Majesty which was performed live on television by over 3,000 service personnel in the presence of HM The Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and his original composition Am Sailing to Westward, which depicts in words and music the fateful story of HMS Trinidad, was performed live at the Mountbatten Festival of Music 2012. His most recent composition, Sleep, Beneath the Wave, was written to commemorate the 101 Royal Hospital School alumni who died during the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and received its first performance in the presence of HRH The Duke of York. Richard is currently engaged in a research project examining the life and work of the English composer, George Lloyd, who himself was a Royal Marines musician.
“Someone once said to me that education is the inheritance you cannot spend. If that is true, then a musical education is a tax-free, compound-interest-earning golden egg full of winning lottery tickets.”