American violinist, conductor, and composer William Harvey has appeared as violin soloist at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony and has performed concerti with orchestras in Argentina, the Philippines, Mexico, and USA. For 4 years, he served as the Violin and Viola Teacher at Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). At the request of ANIM founder, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, he founded the Afghan Youth Orchestra, which he conducted 8 times for President Hamid Karzai and led on a historic tour of the USA that he also coordinated and for which he raised the funding. On that tour, he conducted AYO in his own arrangements at sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. The tour was featured extensively in major media including the New York Times, CNN, ABC, and NBC.
In March 2012, Harvey conducted AYO on the season finale of Afghan Star, which was the most-watched TV event in Afghan history, with 15 million viewers; he did so again for the season finale in March 2013. He subsequently conducted AYO at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman, in February 2014. In 2011, he was a guest judge and performer on Afghan Star. His guest appearances on this show and on the popular interview program Bamdad-e Khosh made him instantly recognizable on the street to most residents of Kabul. He also edited and arranged the Anthologies of Afghan Songs for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass, intended to supplement the pedagogy of all of those string instruments.
Currently concertmaster of the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa Las Artes in Culiacán, Mexico, he has previously served as concertmaster of the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad Nacional de San Juan (Argentina) and the Spokane Symphony, faculty at Indiana University’s Summer String Academy, a Fellow at Carnegie Hall’s Academy, and a guest artist at the Myanmar Music Festival (where he performed for Aung San Suu Kyi), Mehli Mehta Music Foundation (to which he was invited by Zubin Mehta), and Iguazu en Concierto (where he conducted an orchestra of hundreds of children from around the world in front of Iguazu Falls). He frequently performs rare and obscure music, such as the Sonata for Solo Violin by Artur Schnabel, and made live videos of all four Elliott Carter pieces in Afghanistan. William plays on a violin made by Joseph Curtin in Ann Arbor, USA, in 2001.
As a conductor, he has led youth orchestras in Argentina, Qatar, Mexico, Tunisia, the Philippines, and the USA. Mr. Harvey’s compositions have received over a hundred performances. In 2006, his Cuerpo Garrido won Columbia University’s Bearns Prize. Mr. Harvey earned his M.M. from The Juilliard School, where he studied violin with Ronald Copes and composition with Samuel Adler, and B.M. from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied violin with Mimi Zweig and composition with Sven-David Sandström.
In 2005, Mr. Harvey founded Cultures in Harmony (CiH). In 2010, CiH was named a Best Practice in International Cultural Engagement (along with the Kennedy Center & Library of Congress) by the US Center for Citizen Diplomacy. CiH workshops in Pakistan, Qatar, Egypt, the Philippines, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, and Mexico have benefited thousands of young musicians. Mr. Harvey has lectured about CiH at the British Parliament; at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, Germany; at the Escuela Superior de Música in Mexico; at Oberlin Conservatory in the USA; and at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. In 2017, he gave the keynote speech at the ASTA convention in Pittsburgh
Crossover Performances (Violin)
Chikni Chameli, Indian film song recorded in Islamabad, Pakistan
Bia ke birim ba Mazar, Afghan folk song recorded live at the ruined Darulaman Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan
Crossover Videos (Conductor)
Historic concert by Afghan Youth Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, February 7, 2013 (complete)
Arghawan, Afghan folk song, arr. to feature students from ANIM, a baglama player from Turkey, and a string orchestra from Turkey, France, & USA, in a performance at the Klasik Keyifler Festival at the Göreme Ceramic Museum in Turkey.
Wenge Mambo, popular song by Oliver Mtukudzi, recorded with the singer himself and the orchestra of Musicamp, conducted by William, in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Shakoko Jan, Afghan folk song. Orchestra of hundreds of young musicians from around the world in Iguazu, Argentina, featuring ANIM’s Young Afghan Traditional Ensemble, conducted by William. Shakoko Jan begins at the 22-minute mark.
Violin performances (concerti and recitals)