An accomplished composer and saxophonist, Jonathan is a musical polymath, drawing upon the traditions of film music, jazz, and 20th century minimalism among other influences. Within a few short
years in the Los Angeles film world, he’s gained a reputation for his absolute commitment to communicating the heart of a story, using music at its most organic level.
Jonathan’s latest film, ”This Last Lonely Place” (2014), features lush orchestral melodies, jazz, as well as distorted textures and guitars. A crime drama, the film is about a down on his luck cab driver (Rhys Coiro) that has picked up a desperate man & his mistress, running from a murder. As the night spirals out of the driver’s control, it’s unclear who will make it out alive.
“The film presented so many wonderful opportunities to explore musical texture and color”, says Jonathan. “There were so many subtleties within these characters, which was great because they weren’t one-dimensional. That provided a lot of room for musical storytelling.”
Jonathan recently composed additional music with noted composer Bear McCreary on the first season of OUTLANDER, on the Starz network. Working with McCreary was an amazing experience, a great entrée into television working on one of the most successful shows on cable.
In 2013, Jonathan’s first feature film, “The Employer”, was released in the US, as well as theatrically in Europe, Russia, and Japan. Frank Merle’s directorial debut, the film is an intense psychological thriller starring Malcolm McDowell, Billy Zane, and David Dastmalchian (“Prisoners”). Jonathan composed over 75 minutes of original music for the film, which features a hybrid sound of electronica and traditional orchestral strings.
In 2012, Jonathan worked on “Fatal Honeymoon”, contributing half the score with composer Rob Kral on the true crime story for Lifetime Entertainment. The film starred Harvey Keitel and was based on the infamous Tina Watson honeymoon murder case in Australia.
Jonathan moved to Los Angeles in late 2009, and got his start in Hollywood assisting veteran composer John Ottman, famous for his collaboration with director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns, Xmen Days Of Future Past). Working for Ottman was a film education of the highest order.
Jonathan worked for Ottman for 2 years, before branching out on his own in 2011 to score for advertising, music libraries, and several short films. These include two collaborations with comedic director/writer Charles Rogers (winner of SXSQW 2012) on the dark comedy films “Oysters Rockefeller” and “Autumn Whispers”.
In 2008, Jonathan received his Masters in Music Composition from New York University, where he studied film scoring with composer Ira Newborn (Ferris Bueller, Naked Gun, Ace Ventura). Jonathan always loved film, and was contemplating shifting his career from performing to composing. Ira had become a close friend and mentor; he encouraged Jonathan to move to Los Angeles to pursue film scoring professionally.
Prior to his life in film, Jonathan was a Saxophonist for nearly 20 years. He started playing professionally at age 16. Based in New York City, his performing career took him throughout the United States, as well as Canada, France, and the Caribbean. Jonathan spent much of his mid 20s hanging out in the Jazz @ Lincoln Center scene, with Wynton Marsalis and alto saxophonist Wessell Warmdaddy Anderson.
Notable performance highlights include the Jazz Standard, Smoke, the Lenox Lounge, Duc de Lombard (Paris), Smalls, and the Iridium. As a saxophonist, he also performed in a wide variety of musical settings, including Broadway, Latin, and R&B soul bands.
Jonathan Hartman was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. His grandfather, Robert Morgan, was a major influence on his early musical life and gave him his first saxophone. Mr. Morgan was the Master Engraver at King Musical Instruments for over 50 years, where he engraved horns for many jazz legends, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. His grandfather introduced many of these jazz musicians to Jonathan, inspiring him to pursue a musical life.