John Harmon is a prolific composer whose works embrace a broad spectrum of performance ensembles. These range from solo instrument or voice to full orchestra/band/chorus with narrator and include any imaginable group in between such as a two-act jazz opera, “Ava”, that features singer, Janet Planet. The titles and content of many pieces reflect a deep interest in environmental issues and Native American folklore. Bobby Shew writes that Harmon is “strongly influenced by poetry, Native American folklore, jazz elements... [his] compositions draw from a palate not unlike Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland, and the lesser known Alec Wilder.”
In 1971, Harmon founded a jazz studies program at Lawrence University and served as its director until 1974. He then formed the nine-member jazz-fusion band called Matrix, performing and touring with them until 1981. Harmon maintains a private studio and keeps busy teaching, performing, composing, and serving as guest clinician and composer-in-residence for numerous schools and camps throughout the country. Hundreds of published works for chorus, band, brass, chamber groups and jazz ensemble are available from six different publishers.
Harmon lives on beautiful Mud Creek in Winneconne, Wisconsin.