Paul Harris aka Harry the Piano

  • One of the most gifted improvising pianists in the world

  • Any tune, played in any style, at the drop of a hat!

  • Directed tours for Rick Astley, Alexander Armstrong and taught Hugh Laurie jazz

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Paul Harris aka Harry the Piano | NMP Live
About

Harry The Piano’s extraordinary talent and breathtaking creativity have earned him a reputation as one of the most gifted improvising pianists in the world. Celebrities and critics alike have lined up to shower him with praise often smacking of astonishment.

No other musician can spontaneously reinvent Michael Jackson in the style of Mozart, recreate a night at the Groucho club through the TV themes of its actor members, and improvise a seamless medley of audience requests ranging from James Bond to Shostakovich via West Side Story.

Harry has often been likened to a human jukebox with his note-perfect knowledge of literally tens of thousands of tunes including most of the classical repertoire, every jazz standard and musical and most of the pop charts since 1950 (except Gangnam style which is simply too hard) but the sharp humour and inventiveness that characterise his shows make him far more than that.

Quite simply, Harry The Piano does things with the instrument that you've never heard before, moving seamlessly between jazz, cabaret and classical in a manner that hasn't been seen in the UK since the heyday of Dudley Moore.

Harry’s one-man show is a musical Cirque du Soleil, with one piano the only prop.

Perhaps best-known in the 1990s as the resident pianist on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast, Harry has accompanied artists as diverse as Willard White, Alexander Armstrong, Gloria Hunniford and All Saints on a variety of radio and television shows. He also formed, and played in, the band for Johnny Vaughan's Saturday night chat show in the early 2000s.

Spotted early in his career whilst the resident pianist at London's Groucho Club, Harry was given a regular slot on Richard Baker's Melodies for You on BBC Radio 2, where he gave his first renditions of the Neighbours theme in the style of Rachmaninov and Match of the Day as a Strauss waltz.

His appearances at the famous Groucho Club put him in contact with most of the film stars, actors and producers in town. And as a result, he was invited to perform at numerous celebrity parties including the launch of Stephen Fry's book The Liar, and found himself teaching Beau Bridges how to fake an arpeggio before his performance in The Fabulous Baker Boys.

Harry is also a skilled composer and arranger, having cut his teeth writing syllabus music for the Royal Academy of Dancing and jingles for Soho advertising company Ronnie Bond Music, including those for international campaigns for Mastercard, Douwe Egberts and Lucozade. Television scores followed for BBC 2 and Channel 4.

Following a performance on BBC Radio 3's 'Kit and the Widow' programme, Harry also performed his cabaret show on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary II in January 2004 which was so successful that he was immediately re-invited. And he has been invited back many times in the intervening years.

Harry's solo cabaret show has been seen all over the world on luxurious liners (Crystal cruises, Seabourn and QE2), sold out the 2000-seat Portsmouth Guildhall for two nights and made a triumphant debut at Pizza on the Park, the best cabaret venue in London where he also sold out for two nights.

Harry also keeps his hand in on the session scene, recording piano and keyboards on Simply Red's album Home and Emma Bunton’s single Something So Beautiful. However, he is perhaps happiest playing to the classical crowd, who appreciate Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata mixed with Cole Porter's Night and Day, Irving Berlin's Cheek to Cheek in the style of Mahler and mini-lectures, such as 'How Mozart would have arranged Happy Birthday'.

In 2018, as a teaser to the perennial and highly anticipated John Lewis Christmas advert, that year featuring Sir Elton John and the story of his first piano, the ITV network received a sonic makeover with Harry's piano arrangements of classic themes such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale replacing the originals for 48 hours.

This was designed as a teaser to get the public debating why everything was moved onto the piano and succeeded in causing a mini national sensation! There was feverish speculation that the versions were by Sir Elton himself, fuelled by the British press until the Manchester Evening News broke the truth that it was none other than Harry the Piano behind all the rewrites!

Harry's technique has been variously described as 'formidable', 'staggeringly virtuosic' and 'phenomenal', however one journalist noted that 'if Harry had espoused the concert platform, we would have undoubtedly had another great pianist, but we would have lost his unique ability to entertain'.

Performance

Supremely talented, whichever of his performances you book, Harry The Piano presents a truly blissful evening of exceptional entertainment.

After Dinner Intimate Private Performances
A perfect show for after dinner entertainment or smaller private party that is truly bespoke to your guests. Jaw-dropping old-fashioned virtuosity coupled with sharp humour is put at the disposal of the audience as Harry invites them to challenge him with ‘any song on any style’.

With 3 million YouTube hits and clients as diverse as HRH Prince Charles, Kate Moss, Stephen Fry and the Egyptian ambassador, Harry’s show has truly global wow-factor.

Festivals & Stage Performances
A unique ‘multi-faceted musical imagination’ has brought audiences to their feet in every conceivable venue. From classical societies and Radio 3 - wowed by his ability to improvise in any composer’s style - to festivals from Adelaide to the Albert Hall where requests have varied from English country garden in the style of Wagner to Coronation street as a tango.

Every show is unique. Small wonder then, that Harry The Piano is rebooked after over ninety per cent of his performances.

Educational Master Class
As well as performing worldwide, Harry The Piano has been giving lectures and master classes plus performances in schools and colleges the length and breadth of the UK for over twenty years.

The star turn at annual conferences for the Music Master's Association, European Piano Teachers Association and the Trinity Examiners Guild, all received with standing ovations, Harry's innovative approach to education and ability as a communicator has led to a huge array of glowing references.

Videos

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Testimonials

The best damn pianist in the civilised world

Jonathan Ross

His phenomenal talent, unobtrusive charm and wit are a delight.

Stephen Fry

You practise all your life and think you can play the piano. Then you hear Harry.

Martin Roscoe

I’m not normally one to gush, far from it, but Harry the Piano really has been my discovery of the year.

Stewart Collins, Artistic Director, Henley Festival

What fun it must be to be able to play the piano like that, I wish I could do it.

HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales

Harry the piano is extraordinary. I've never seen anyone play an instrument like him. I guarantee people will be amazed.

Alexander Armstrong

Harry's musicianship is mind-blowing and his personality superb - a dream to work with!

Jo Metcalf, Festival director, Salisbury International Arts Festival

Harry can play anything, anywhere, any time – when he played with Elvis Costello, it was an entertainment high point of my life. He can work any theme into any song. He's unique, you'll love him!

Johnny Vaughan

How to book Paul Harris aka Harry the Piano for your event

To book Paul Harris aka Harry the Piano, please submit an online enquiry to booking.agent@nmp.co.uk or contact one of our booking agents on +44 (0)20 3822 0003.

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you made the whole process of finding and engaging our speaker very easy.
Julie Smith, Head of HR - Hastoe Group
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