Douglas Harvey performed his first concert as a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra at the age of seventeen. At the age of eighteen, he won an audition to become the Orchestra’s Acting Principal cellist and performed his first concert in that position shortly after. In 2002 the position became his, following a national audition, thus making him the youngest Principal Cellist in the almost 100-year history of the Orchestra. In 2003 Harvey shared the stage as soloist with celebrated news anchor Hugh Downs, Peter Bay, and the Austin Symphony, in a performance of Dan Welcher’s massive oratorio, “JFK: The Voice of Peace,” for solo cello, narrator, symphony orchestra, and choir. The Austin-American Statesman said, “ASO principal cellist Douglas Harvey, in his first solo appearance with the orchestra, provided a strong and expressive musical representation of JFK, choosing to emphasize the more inward, sensitive aspects of the man.” The success of his performances led to the presentation of a J.B. Vuillaume cello, the JFK Award, presented by the Amatius Foundation, and the world premieres of two additional works, one of which written for him by the composer (Welcher), in New York’s Steinway Hall.
Harvey began playing the cello at the age of 9 in the fourth-grade public school program in San Antonio, Texas. Two years later he began private study with Mrs. Annette DiGiosia, cellist with the San Antonio Symphony, and over the next several years he won numerous first-place awards in every local competition that he entered. He began further study at age thirteen with Emeritus Professor Paul Olefsky of the University of Texas at Austin.
Douglas performed his first concerto as solo cellist with the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio at the age of 13, and made his debut as soloist with the San Antonio Symphony at the age of 15. At the age of 15, he began study of the Kodaly Sonata for Solo Cello Op. 8, which he has performed at two World Cello Congress events in College Park, Maryland. At age 16 he was the youngest cellist in history to be invited by the University of Texas at Austin to perform a full recital on its campus. He won first place awards in the 2000 William C. Byrd International Competition, the Idyllwild International Young Artists Competition, and the Corpus Christi International Competition, as well as two first place solo Bach prizes awarded at the Corpus Christi and Kingsville International Competitions. Since then, Mr. Harvey has performed almost 20 different works for cello and orchestra including works by: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Boccherini, Dvorak, Elgar, Faure, Haydn, Lalo, Saint-Saens, Schumann, Vivaldi, and others. In 2007, Douglas gave the Texas premiere of the Concertino for Cello and String Orchestra by Irving Schlein in the presence of the composer’s son, the late Dr. Peter Schlein, with conductor Anthony Corrora and the Austin Symphony during the Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park series. Last summer he performed the Brahms Double Concerto in Bear Valley, California, with violinist Larry Shapiro, and conductor Carter Nice.
He has given performances for St. Austin’s Catholic Church, the Austin Chamber Music Center, the Amatius Chamber Music Series at the Dell Jewish Community Center, Austin’s Classical Guitar Society, Into the Light Live, the University of Texas at Austin Jessen Series, the UT PAC at Bates, Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas State University in San Marcos, and performs regularly with the Chamber Soloists of Austin, and in intimate chamber music concerts with the Salon Concert Series. Harvey has also been the Principal Cellist of the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra since 2005.
Douglas Harvey, as a member of the Tosca Strings, has twice toured through America and abroad with David Byrne of Talking Heads fame. Live broadcasts from the tours have included, David Letterman (CBS), On the Record with Bob Costas (HBO), Later with Jools Holland, London BBC, and Live at the Union Chapel, London BBC DVD. The tour featured performances at Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Concertgebouw, Royal Festival Hall, The Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Hollywood Bowl and many others and was named in the top-ten of live touring shows by Rolling Stones Magazine, and the number one live show from the Dallas Morning News. Harvey has also recorded and worked locally with Ray Benson (Beyond Time), David Byrne (Grown Backwards), Matt Morris and Justin Timberlake (When Everything Breaks Open), Andrew Heller (Christmas Wonder, Places), Disney’s (Merry Little Christmas), and others.
Douglas plays on the Grand Prize-winning “Emperor” cello made c. 1860 in Paris by Gand Freres, commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon III.