Justin Harmer studied with Mark Wildman at the Royal College of Music, as a post-graduate senior exhibitioner in the joint RAM/RCM vocal department. He read English and Music at York University as an undergraduate, studying singing with Yvonne Seymour, as well as privately with the late Andrew Field, and winning a performance prize with the University Music department. Born and raised in London, he was Adrian Boult music scholar at Westminster School, simultaneously studying piano with Chris Caine as Billy Mayerl exhibitioner in composition at Trinity College of Music Junior Department. At Trinity he was awarded the Gladys Puttick prize for improvisation in 1988 & 1989. On leaving school, his first job was as a freelance repetiteur with the Royal Academy of Dancing.
Before, during and after music college, Justin worked at the Royal Ballet School Junior Associates as a repetiteur, and then, after finishing post-graduate studies, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where he was a member of the professional Chapel Choir for 10 years. As a teacher of piano and singing, he has held various posts in pre-primary, primary, secondary and university education, in both private and public sectors, having also taught in the City at Norton Rose Fulbright and Macquarie Capital with Music in Offices.
His extremely varied musical career has involved everything from being a keyboard player at a fledgling 1990 MOBO awards, to appearing on national BBC and Sky News in 2017, accompanying Soprano Milly Forrest in an article filmed at the Wigmore Hall. As a bass soloist, he has appeared at St John's Smith Square, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Covent Garden Piazza, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Royal Albert Hall Elgar Rooms, Westminster Abbey, St James's Piccadilly, St Martin in the Fields, Snape Maltings, and as an oratorio soloist in numerous concerts in Southern and Northern England.
He made his professional debut in 1991 at the Barbican Hall, in Tom Eastwood's The Voyage of the Catarinetta with Odaline de La Martinez and her ensemble Lontano. He has also appeared with Bampton Opera, Co-Opera Co, Gower Festival, Mitte Europa Festival, Jerusalem Early Music Festival, Chelsea Festival and with the London Handel Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, the Royal Ballet Orchestra with National Youth Music Theatre, and in Italy, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland, and on television in France and Spain.
Back at the piano, in April 2017 he accompanied best-selling classical artist, "The Voice of Asissi", Friar Alessandro Brustenghi, in a benefit concert at St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark. He is an affiliate composer with Basstone Music, London, a syndicated studio of Warner Chappell: his first album was published in November 2018, and the second is currently in production. In 2018 his music featured in The Gorgeous Georgians - as part of the Horrible Histories tour with Birmingham Stage Company at Hampton Court Palace. His music also features in their current 2018-19 UK tour, in The Awful Egyptians, which plays around the country for 15 months. His Gorgeous Georgians contribution will appear in Barmy Britain in London’s West End in Summer 2020.
Justin has been Acting Director of Music of Medici Choir from June 2018 - June 2019, an 80+ strong choral society based in central London, having premiered many works as vocal soloist by their late Director of Music, John Baird, as well as a teacher of piano and singing at home in Stockwell, SW9 and in North Norfolk. He is Organist at St Mary's Clapham, and Director of Music of St Michael's Stockwell, where he was founder and Artistic Director of the annual arts festival (www.stmaf.org) in 2017 and 2018. In October last year he appeared at the festival, accompanying Soprano Katherine Watson for a selection of Simon Russell Beale’s “Desert Island Hits” music choices. Justin formed the liturgical choir The Walsingers in 2019, based in Walsingham, North Norfolk. He began working as a cantor at the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady in June this year. He has recorded two audiobooks on Audible: “A Peek at Bathsheba” by Uvi Poznansky and a life of Emperor Constantine.