Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The voice behind A Peek at Bathsheba

I don't know how Justin Harmer found my work. I consider myself lucky for it, because he placed an audition for it. Take a listen to an excerpt from the upcoming audiobook edition of A Peek at Bathsheba:

I was blown away by how musical his voice sounds, how compelling his presence, and how nuanced his interpretation of the text, which should not have surprised me: Justin Harmer is a musician. He plays the piano and the harp. And he is a singer. Here is his performance of Lord God of Abraham:

The character of David in The David Chronicles is rich and complex, drawn with great contrast, so I was looking for a charismatic performer, one who can deliver pathos as well as humor. 

Here is a little background about him:

Justin Harmer first trod the boards as a tap dancer a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... His very short-lived dance career was briefly revisited at Sadlers Wells in the late 80's with the National Youth Music Theatre. From this dizzy, square-dancing height he went on to be the lead (and a deluded, chicken chasing Knight Errant) in one of their 3 production's at the Edinburgh International Festival, alongside Jude Law who was the lead that year in their production of Joseph's Technicolour Dreamcoat... A long time ago in a galaxy of stars, far, far away...
Earlier that year while the Berlin wall was busy falling, he appeared on French TV alongside Dido in an Opera by the name of Dido and Aeneas. He was the first white artist to appear at the MOBO awards (no it wasn't Jamie Cullum: it was me!) as keyboard player for the band Streetwise. A brief 8 year spell at University saw him play a jester in full jesting gear, a comedy king, the season Winter, the concept of Sleep, a diabolists sidekick and an onanist disturbing policeman (as well as weddings and funerals). There was the odd sighting of an Old Testament prophet or two and various Christs and Pontius Pilates.
Otherwise he has appeared as Death in a codpiece and an elderly owl in Marbella. He has performed his own composition at the Wigmore Hall, and also played one of the three kings in Westminster Abbey (Melchior), sung at Barbican Hall, St John's Smith Square, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Albert Hall (Canteen and Elgar Room), Snape Maltings Aldeburgh, Edinburgh Fringe (as a gangster), York Minster, Chelsea Festival (as another Old Testament character) and sightread his way round more choirs than is advisable.
As an ivory tickler he worked for the Royal Ballet School for 10 years and the Royal Academy of Dancing for 2. He fairly recently performed Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (which was almost fun for the other pianist!) He has sung as soloist in a blitzkrieg of European countries as well as playing various other biblical characters in Jerusalem.
He has played on screen a very convincing mad Organist and several vicars... Oh and a Bond villain in a towel (it wasn't yellow though.) He made his professional debut as a ship's cook. 
Justin has sung alongside Alfie Boe and James Rutherford, Sarah Fox, Leigh Melrose, and perfomed for Liz and Phil and various cousins of theirs, John (Major), Maggie and Denis, Edward (Windsor), Andrew (L-W), various Archbishops (including the rainbow one), Uncle Tom Cobbley and various papered and hallowed halls.
His optimism that he would eventually be recording with Basstone music an album of his compositions has paid off: the court case didn't go belly up in the end...
He is a published and performing poet. Between him and his wife Charlotte they have 17 godchildren. A miracle in which his knee was involved was reported on the back page of the Catholic Herald, but that was on the top deck of a bus in Peckham which is, as they say, a galaxy far, far away...

To learn more, click here: About Justin Harmer.

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