Jon is a conductor specialising in contemporary music, based in Glasgow and London. He conducts and co-directs the Octandre Ensemble (Patron Sir Harrison Birtwistle) and is Musical Director of the London Medical Orchestra, of South Birmingham Sinfonia and he is Musical Director of Online Orchestra. He studies conducting with Richard Bernas. Recent guest conducting highlights have included a concert for the LSO Soundhub scheme, an appearance with the Grampian Youth Orchestra, and recording work with the Glasgow-based Rogue Orchestra.
Jon founded the Octandre Ensemble with composer Christian Mason in 2011, and since then the group has established a strong reputation for their performances of carefully curated programmes of original works and contemporary and modernist repertoire. Recent performances include Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire with the mezzo soprano Lore Lixenberg; the world premiere of 'Iris Dreaming', a one-woman chamber opera by Dame Gillian Whitehead; and 'Layers of Love', an epic programme in the Principal Sound Festival at St. John's, Smith Square featuring the music of Feldman, Mason, Vivier and Webern, which was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3.
Online Orchestra is based at Falmouth University, and has been partnered by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Cornwall Music Education Hub and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and has received funding from AHRC and Arts Council England. This pioneering project enables real-time networked performances by large groups of musicians in locations separated by miles, using off-the-shelf computing equipment. The world premiere, in 2015, brought together players across West Cornwall, in Truro cathedral, at Lizard Point and on the Isles of Scilly.
Jon holds a PhD in Music from the University of York, where he was supervised by Tim Howell. His thesis discusses communication between composers and listeners in twentieth-century repertoire. Jon has published articles and book chapters on topics including musical quotation, the uses of music in everyday life, music education and embodied music cognition. He has presented research at conferences in the UK and in Europe, and has given lectures at the Universities of York, York St. John and Kent. He has taught composition, musicianship and theory and analysis in the Junior Department at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Aldeburgh Young Musicians Scheme, as well as deputizing at the Junior Royal Academy. In 2011 he co-edited a volume on the music of Kaija Saariaho: Visions, Narratives, Dialogues to which he also contributed a chapter. Recently Jon was the Editor for the live performance score of Bernard Herrman's score for the Martin Scorsese film 'Taxi Driver', premiere by the BBC Concert Orchestra under Robert Ziegler, in the Royal Festival Hall.