Jon Hargreaves

music

about
projects

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

Composer/Arranger

'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.

Octandre Ensemble

'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.

RSNO Film Composers Lab 2023/24

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The words "Still I Rise" in blue brushstrokes with a matching bird, on a watercolour cloud background.

Still I Rise (Jan 2024)

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Cover art for album The Harpweaver

The Harpweaver (Celtic Connections, 2024)

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Gig poster for World of My Own, Chris Helme and Jon Hargreaves

World of My Own (2024)

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Cover art for Cambridge Companion to Composition

Sonorities and Spectra (2024)

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Etching of Peppe Nappa. By Maurice Sands.

Pierrot Lunaire (Nov 2023)

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Photograph of Jon Hargreaves and five young composers in a recording studio

RSNO Film Composer Lab (May 2023)

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Album cover for Screens (Octandre Ensemble, conductor Jon Hargreaves, composer Frank Denyer)

Screens

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Singer Alan Leach, a white man with short hair, dressed in a black tracksuit with stripes, and wearing sneakers with the laces undone. He is crouched on his heels, hugging his knees leaning against an urban brick wall under lamplight.

Clouds behind the Moon (2022)

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Illustration of a person meditating

The Summer has Flown (Sept 2022)

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Octandre at LCMF 2022

5 Views of the Path (WP, LCMF 2022)

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Photos by Christina Kernohan

Sleep Now (2022)

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Each One Cancels The Last (Hector) (Jan 2022)

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Burial at sea - a painting by JMW Turner. A fire aboard a dark ship sees the beginning of its demise.

The Shipwrecker’s Lantern (2020-22)

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Cover art for Martha Bean and Jon Hargreaves' album "First Light". A painting of a bed with rumpled sheets against a plain wall. The image is saturated with peachy morning sunlight.

First Light (2022)

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Closeup of African-Canadian hip-hop artist Keonte Beals. He stands in a rural setting, with snow swirling. He wears a brown puffy vest over a black jumper, with a black beanie, and has a clippered beard and moustache. He looks slightly towards the left frame of the photo.

Let Go (2021)

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Album cover art ofr Ainsley Hamill's album "Not Just Ship Land". A coloured pen drawing of a woman resting her head on her forearm on the lower frame. Her multi-coloured hair comes out in swirls and fills the rest of the image.

Not Just Ship Land (2021)

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Conductor Jon Hargreaves, composer Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, singer Ziazan Horrocks-Hopayian and five players from the London Symphony Orchestra record in a large church. The scene is informal and busy, and there are cables and microphones throughout the scene.

Welcome Party (2021)

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International Communication Disaster

International Communication Disaster 1877' version: May 2020 (2022)

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Photo of conductor Jon Hargreaves and spatially distanced musicians from Octandre Ensemble recording a piece of music in a timber-clad modern concert hall. The photo is taken from the perspective of one of the musicians, playing from a balcony above the stage, and their music fills the bottom half of the frame.

Sub (2021)

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Abstract, scribbled pen drawing of musicians and instruments.

Nevis Ensemble: Pandemic activity (2020-21)

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Closeup of assorted wooden, metal and glass percussion instruments sitting on a tray in a dimly-lit performance space.

The Fish that became the Sun, World premiere (2019)

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A photo of the Nevis Ensemble musicians, with their back to the camera, playing with Jon Hargreaves conducting (facing the camera), on the Island of Hirta in the St Kilda archipelago. They are outdoors, with an inlet from the Atlantic ocean, and a rugged peninsula behind them. They are dressed in brightly coloured clothing.

Nevis Ensemble: Outer Hebrides Tour (2019)

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Eight musicians stand in a semicircle, infront of a battery of interesting percussion instruments. in front of them is composer Rolf Hind, in a white shirt and terracotta-coloured trousers. The backdrop is a bright blue, and the stage is brightly lit. They look directly at the camera.

Rolf Hind Composer Portrait (2018)

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Caucasian man in striped shirt and black jeans, with smooth black hair, wearing safety goggles. He is chopping wood behind a plexiglass safety screen, on stage as part of a musical performance.

Frank Denyer Composer Portrait (May 2018)

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An image of the Octandre Ensemble recording on a modern, timber-lined concert platform. There are 3 groups of 4 players playing a large assortment of instruments in a large semi-circle around the stage, plus Jon Hargreaves conducting in the middle. The mood is informal, but busy.

The Fish that Became the Sun Recording (April 2018)

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A close-up shot of a male solo cellist, ensemble of seven musicians playing stringed and woodwind instruments in a semicircle behind him, and conductor Jon Hargreaves standing in the middle in partial profile to the camera. They are in rehearsal on stage, dressed informally, with a black stage with layered Persian rugs.

Nicola LeFanu Composer Portrait (2018)

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A closeup photo of Jon Hargreaves conducting the Nevis Ensemble in a dark space, lit by fairy lights.His arms are raised, and he wears a black shirt. in the foreground is the back of a violinist, with her hair pulled up into a chignon.

Nevis Ensemble: Inaugural Summer tour (2018)

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A symmetrical photo of 7 musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra in a semicircle around a brightly lit stage, with Jon hargreaves conducting at the centre (with his back to the camera). The photo is taken from the middle of the audience. The musicians are dressed in black clothing, and the mood is formal and professional.

LSO Soundhub Showcase (2017)

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Image of the Octandre Ensemble in concert, in St John's Smith Square, London. the stage has a domed ceiling, draped red velvet panels either side of the performers, and a large chandelier above the stage.

Principal Sound: Layers of Love (April 2016)

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Poster for the film "Taxi Driver".

Taxi Driver (2016)

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photo of Jon Hargreaves conducting into a camera, with live projections of different groups of musicians on three screens around him. Taken during the Online Orchestra research project at Falmouth University.

Online Orchestra (2014-15)

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Photographed, from the back of the audience, a man conducts a small ensemble in low lighting

Curiouser (2015)

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Closeup scan of a diagram, featuring geometric shapes, musical letter names, intersection lines and map coordinates.

Sinan Savaskan Composer Portrait (2014)

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Camera still from the David Lean film "Brief Encounter". A black and white photo of a man and woman, both white and middle-aged, looking into each other's eyes, backlit by street lamps/

Brief Encounter (2014)

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Cover art for Andy Ruddy's album "Everything is in Order". A print of part of the London skyline in silhouette against a dark green background.

Everything is in Order (2014)

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Cover art for Sam Forrest's album "Population 4000". A pen and coloured pencil drawing of a teenage boy of Asian descent in a red teeshirt, wearing a white hygiene mask, holding a green banner with writing on it. Behind him is a city scene with skyscrapers, cars and traffic lights.

Population 4000 (2013)

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The promotional image for Octandre Ensemble's Anglo-French Composer's Forum, November 2012, featuring the ensemble logo.

Anglo-French Composers Forum (Nov 2012)

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Promotional Image for the Octandre Ensemble's Medieval; Modernist concert, November 2021, featuring the ensemble logo.

Medieval Modernist (Nov 2012)

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Promotional poster for event, featuring the Octandre Ensemble logo (a swirling blue sphere) on a midnight blue background.

Music as Spheres (March 2011)

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Cover art for Chris Helme's album "The Rookery". A coloured pen drawing of black and white wooden houses set up in the branches of an autumnal tree.

The Rookery (2011)

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Cover art for Hayley Hutchinson's album "Hawks to the Wind": A drawing of a boy wearing artificial wings on sand dunes, with the sun sinking over the horizon.

Hawks to the Wind (2011)

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Cover art for The Yards' album "Imperial Measures". A pen drawing of a black horse rearing up on its hind legs, with billows of white smoke and burning books around its feet.

Imperial Measures (2009)

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Album cover art for The Yards' Album "The Yards". A black, red and pink image of a cabaret dancer holding a red love heart, with two vintage boxer silhouettes either side of her, and a skull with crossed pistols at the top. the look like tattoo art.

The Yards (2005)

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