Jonathan Hartman

The Composing Process

IN THE BLOOD, composing process

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I’ve been working on IN THE BLOOD, finding time to compose in between my film scoring schedule demands.  It’s been a lot of fun and creatively satisfying to have a project that exists outside of picture, I’ve been scoring for so long I kind of forgot that feeling of a blank page and complete freedom to fill it.  I lived most of musical life that way for decades, it’s been entertaining to take the time to compose something of my own volition again.   After moving to the digital sphere, I began putting my sketches into my sequencer and working on the piece as a whole.  I find myself marking out key moments that I’ve composed, and working to those moments, figuring out how to get from one to another is the most interesting part of the composing “puzzle”.    After writing the main ensemble, it became clear to me that I wanted to emphasize a jazz drumset within the piece, as a way to tie the minimalist and jazz elements together.  In the course of preparing for this I watched a number of interviews with Steve Reich, and I was struck by how much Jazz influenced his work, especially[…]

IN THE BLOOD, new concert work

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I’ve begun composing my new concert work, IN THE BLOOD, for the 30th NOW Music Festival at Capital University. I spent a week thinking about my early influences and listening to a tremendous amount of music.   After considering it, I’ve decided to write for an ensemble comprised of 10 strings (3 first violins, 2 second violins, 2 violas, 2 celli, 1 bass), 8 woodwinds (2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 2 oboes, 2 bass clarinets or bassoons), and a percussion group comprised of Piano, Vibraphone, 2 Marimbas, Celesta, Bass Drum, and a Jazz Drumset. I’m going to write a piece that focuses on phase shift, but also attempts to incorporate my take on modern jazz harmony.  I envision this as an opening work within the context of a greater series, which will eventually feature this concept along with jazz improvisation.  This is something I haven’t heard done before, and it’s been sitting in my head for years begging to come out. Initial sketches are underway and I’ll be moving the entire project into the digital realm soon.  i like to compose a fair amount of music on paper, and work out themes, harmonic ideas there before moving to my sequencer, which[…]

NOW Music Festival concert work

A quick drive leads to the "Memorial Gate" on the campus of Capital University.

I have been asked to compose an original concert work for the prestigious 30th Annual NOW Music Festival held at Capital University in Columbus, OH.  This music festival has always promoted cutting edge American composers.   I’m honored to have been approached and asked to compose an original piece for the festival. A long time ago, I attended the Conservatory at Capital University for the first two years of my undergraduate education.  To this day I still fondly think of it as my Alma Mater, the place where I started the path towards my current profession.   While I was there I studied with amazing musicians and educators, including Michael Cox, Stan Smith, and Dr. Rocky Reuter. As a composer I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Rocky; he taught me much of the musical foundation that I work from to this day.  I never knew how thorough my musical training was until I went to other schools, and then worked professionally.  It was a huge strength and asset to have studied at Capital. When you look back at early influences, and how they inform your current work, it’s interesting to see the path that led to my becoming a film[…]

Pilot Season Prep

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I’ve been deep in prep for pilot season 2016! Working on a number of projects, which will be discussed in depth in the near future. Right now I’ve been composing concept pieces for two television pilots this spring, working with the show creators and producers to start defining possible sonic identities for these shows.  A lot of fun collaborating with writers to find the sound that helps tell their story. Currently working on some World War Two material, as well as some adventure oriented music.  More to come soon….