Jonathan Harvey (1939-2012) was a chorister at St Michael’s College, Tenbury and later a major music scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge. He gained doctorates from the universities of Glasgow and Cambridge and (on the advice of Benjamin Britten) also studied privately with Erwin Stein and Hans Keller. He has won numerous major awards including the Britten Award for Composition, Giga-Hertz Prize, an RPS Music Award, the Prince Pierre of Monaco Prize, and the Charles Cros Grand Prix du Président for Lifetime Achievement. Alongside these achievements he was shortlisted for a British Composer Award eight times; winning in 2003 (Vocal & Choral) for his piece Songs of Li Po.
Cirrus Light is composed for solo clarinet. It was commissioned by Auftragswerk des Internationalen Musikwettbewerbs de ARD and had its UK premiere on the 7 October 2012 at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London. It was performed by Mark Simpson.