Jon works across musical genres as an arranger, composer and conductor from his base in Scotland. His professional portfolio encompasses Music Directorships and guest conducting spots throughout the UK, and international composing/arranging projects. He specialises in contemporary repertoire, having co-founded the Octandre Ensemble in 2011 with the composer Christian Mason. He was founding Co-Artistic Director of Glasgow's Nevis Ensemble until 2022.
Recent releases crediting Jon as conductor include the Octandre Ensemble’s CD of works by Frank Denyer, Screens (Another Timbre); Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian’s album Welcome Party with members of London Symphony Orchestra; and Jack Sheen's debut album Sub (SN Variations).
Arranging/composing releases include Chris Helme’s album World of my Own (2024); Martha Bean's First Light EP; and work on a solo album by Alan Leach (Shed 7) album. Since the pandemic, Jon has made arrangements for the BBC Concert Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Nova Scotia for collaborations with pop and trad artists on both sides of the Atlantic. Jon is working on an album of original material with longstanding collaborator, John Miller.
Jon has a long-term and deep-rooted interest in musical value and meaning. He has published music analytic work, as well as collaborations in the social psychology of music, music education and embodied music cognition. Having been Senior Research Fellow at Falmouth University, Jon teaches at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Photo: Martin Stewart
'Along came Gilchrist with her own composition, The Harpweaver, a greats of melancholic optimism propelled by her febrile dexterity, flashes of wild glissandi and, in Jon Hargreaves’ and Pippa Murphy’s orchestral arrangement, poignant moments of impressionistic reflection’. (Ken Walton, The Scotsman)
'The beautiful use of strings [and] mellotrons permeate an album that is perfect to listen to as summer evenings turn to night…'(JRT, Classic Rock Magazine)
Jon’s high-end, bespoke arrangements have brought artists acclaim in Q Magazine, BBC Radio 2, Rock and Reel Magazine, and elsewhere. He has arranged, conducted and directed strings and other orchestral backing for projects in styles encompassing rock and RnB, through to acoustic singer-songwriters and traditional music. Besides orchestral work in Canada and Scotland, during the pandemic he directed remote sessions for projects with Martha Bean, Aaron Xavier and Clementine Duo.
'Denyer's hour-long masterpiece had a gripping flow that was sometimes thunderously aggressive, sometimes beguiling and often disturbing. I will be searching out the recording (Another Timbre) made by these excellent performers — the Octandre Ensemble directed by Christian Mason and Jon Hargreaves.'(Richard Morrison, The Times)
As Co-Artistic Director of London’s Octandre Ensemble, Jon has been at the helm of ten critically-lauded seasons. A highlight of 2019/20 was the World Premiere of Frank Denyer's singular epic The Fish that became the Sun at HCMF, as well as its release on Another Timbre records. During the pandemic, the work won the RPS Prize for large-scale Composition. 2022 launched with the group’s second collaboration with composer Jack Sheen following the recording of his performance installation Sub in 2021, a performance at London Contemporary Music Festival and the culmination of a major recording project, Frank Denyer's Broken Music, due for release later this year.
The Ensemble has earned a strong reputation for its performances of new music exploring timbre and ritual, with BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, CD releases, and numerous premieres under Jon’s directorship, notably including Sinan Savaskan's BASCA Award-winning Many Stares… (Module 30), and the UK Premieres of Christian Mason’s Layers of Love and Claude Vivier’s Samarkand.