Jessi Harvey

Jessi Harvey
Based in Saint Paul, MN

“My music draws back to my childhood in the mountains of Montana, inspired by a sense of place and process, where a knowledge of nature and its inhabitants is explored to understand the relationships of the world.”


Jessi Harvey, also known as George, is a Montana-born composer with degrees from Bryn Mawr College and University of New Mexico. Their music has a wellspring of inspiration based in the natural world and awareness of long-term processes which trends with sonic shocks and a dry sense of humor, described by Seattle Mag as “full of surprises and consistently attention holding.”

Jessi’s work focuses on integrating creation with social and environmental causes. Some favorite projects have been a commission by Karin Stevens Dance in 2019 to create music for Sea Change Within Us based on water, climate change, and humanity’s relationship with both, as well as the 2018 project THINGS THAT BREAK, a collaboration with three other female-identifying artists, filled with works on the theme of breaking and the resultant healing. Compositions have explored the idea of natural time; compressing the history of Washington’s active volcanos into 20-minutes in 10,000 Years of Rumbling and a day of the tides into 6-minutes in Song for a Harbor: and nature is used to examine the human experience; the process of friendship and communication being explored in by the nature of our conversation, which won the 2020 Darkwater Women in Music Festival’s Composition Competition, and Lemur Meets Panda.

Pieces have been commissioned by the Opera Elect, the Art Song Collaborative Project, Seattle-trio Onomatopoeia, L.A.-duo Strange Interlude, among others. Her works have been performed throughout the United States and Canada including at the Waterloo Contemporary Music Sessions, Music By Women Festival, and the Montréal Contemporary Music Lab.

Work Samples

by the nature of our conversation (2019). B-flat/bass clarinet, cello. Emily Kennedy, cello; Christine Elizabeth Hoerning, clarinets.

by the nature of our conversation is an extemporaneous exploration of the process of conversation, framed by the four elements and seasons. Spring / Earth is the awkward beginnings when meeting someone; Summer / Air floats jovially in lighthearted casual conversation; Fall / Water dives deep into dreams when people truly connect; Winter / Fire is the confrontation when faced with irreconcilable differences and the rage and sorrow that go along with it. The piece ends as an open-ended improvisation, in which the performers decide how their conversation ends.”

rhizome (2018). Flute, b-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, piano. Cassie Lear, flute; Olivia Valenza, b-flat clarinet; Alexandra Hecker, bass clarinet;  Caitlin Frasure, piano.

“An extremely aggressive work about the roots, and their growth, of a daisy.”

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