Born in London, Harry Sever is a conductor and composer whose work spans a variety of genres and media. After studying music at Oxford where he was awarded first class honours, he continued his training as a répétiteur at the Guildhall School of Music. As a vocal coach and accompanist, he has worked with singers from the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, and the National Opera Studio.
Harry is the musical director of Pop-up Productions HK, with whom he worked on the debut of Beijing Bohème; a new immersive adaptation of Puccini’s La Bohème set in contemporary China. Other recent conducting engagements include Verdi Requiem in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, Unfinished (Mozart Requiem/Schubert Symphony no. 8 with the Novalis Chamber Orchestra) and a new work at the Tête-à-Tête opera festival in London. Harry also directs from the harpsichord; recent performances include Handel Tamerlano (New Chamber Opera) and Messiah (Novalis Chamber Orchestra).
In earlier years Harry was an extremely successful boy treble, winning BBC Young Chorister of the Year in 2003, including making solo discs – one of Die Schöne Müllerin – and a number of important appearances, including at Glyndebourne Festival; Die Zauberflöte under Sir Charles Mackerras.
As a composer, Harry works primarily in pop, theatre, and television. He has worked as a songwriter and arranger with various groups both in the UK and further afield. His theatre scores include Love’s Labours Lost and As You Like It (Minack Theatre, Cornwall) and The Cat in the Cupboard (Little Angel Theatre, Islington), and he has recently written for a show on CBS. Last year Harry wrote and conducted the music for a new play by Charlotte Keatley, ‘My Mother Said I Never Should’ and conducted a new opera for workshOPERA, ‘Boys of Paradise’ by Vahan Salorian. He also played for masterclasses at the GSMD led by the acclaimed mezzo, Joyce DiDonato.
In 2015 he played for and conducted Opera Loki’s production of La Bohème and also wrote the score for Tolstoy’s ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ at the Chipping Norton Theatre. He assisted Timothy Redmond in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Biedermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells.
In 2016 he conducted Merry Opera’s production of La Bohème on tour throughout the UK, then the same piece for Swansea City Opera. His score for the ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ received great critical acclaim, following its West End run and he returned to Independent Opera in the autumn, as well as conducting a reduced version of ‘The Nutcracker’ on tour in Denmark for Peter Schaufuss Ballet.
In 2017 he was Assistant Conductor for both the Grange Festival, with ‘Carmen’, and Opera Holland Park for ‘Zaza’ and in the autumn he returned to Denmark, as Assistant Conductor at Den Jyske Opera (L’elisir d’amore) and ‘Swan Lake’ with Schaufuss Ballet.
In 2018 he conducted Bampton Classical Opera’s first modern production of Isouard’s ‘Cinderella’ and was Associate Conductor of Opera Holland Park’s Young Artists Programme, with performances of ‘La Traviata’. He also conducted the Opera Scenes at the Birmingham Conservatoire, and was due to return this year for their summer production before it was postponed due to Covid-19. He was Assistant Conductor on Garsington Opera’s production of Offenbach’s ‘Fantasio’ last year and Covid-19 also saw the postponement this year of his debut with Welsh National Opera, where he was due to both assist and conduct ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’. This autumn he makes his full Opera North debut, assisting on and conducting ‘Carmen’.
“An urgent but sensitively calibrated pulse ran through his interpretation… a fine sense for weighting, shared with the City of London Sinfonia”
“The orchestra was on as thriving form as I can remember – largely due to conductor Harry Sever’s visibly expressive control and illuminating pacing.”
“Harry Sever draws a generally enlivened account of the score that sustains the narrative within the stretches of music among the dialogue. A vibrant and witty interpretation of an operatic rarity.”