J. ANDREW CREAGHAN is a composer, performer and writer who has been a leader in the field of music for his generation. His recordings have received international acclaim and his concerts have taken him across Canada and abroad. His many compositions have been performed around the world, and span the known genres of music including symphonies, solo and chamber works and choral music.
Andrew was born in 1953, in Moncton New Brunswick. He began playing the guitar at the age of 14 and, a year later, received a scholarship to study at Jeunesse Musicales with Alexandre Lagoya.
In 1971 he moved to Montreal where he earned a grant from the New Brunswick Cultural Development Board to attend McGill University and complete his degree (B MUS.) He was attracted to the formal qualities of Schoenberg's works but preferred the more tonal and ritualistic works of Stravinsky. Compositions from this time center around pedagogy for the guitar and art song. At this time he began reading the Theosophical works of Helena Blavatsky, including her seminal work The Secret Doctrine.
Under the auspices of the Canada Council, Andrew traveled to Spain in 1977 to study guitar with José Tomás. He then continued his graduate work at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Alongside his musical pursuits, he continued a deep study of esoteric philosophy and the works of Alice Bailey. While in London he met painter, author and esotericist Benjamin Creme.
Andrew moved back to Edmonton in 1978 and started teaching at Alberta College (Grant MacEwan University). He and Jonathan Bailey together started the Edmonton New Music Concerts at Latitude 53. At this period in his life he began producing various multimedia works along with his first recordings.
From 1982-84 he received scholarships to the Banff School of Arts for a project on improvisation and his compositions take on some of these qualities. Subsequently, he sponsored two Edmonton lectures by Benjamin Creme in 1982 and 1984. He also took a hiatus from composing between 1983-84.
From 1985-1996, Andrew began composing again in a way which could only be described as prolific. Works include first settings of "The Call" from Agni Yoga. A more individual language developed in his work as he searched for more simplicity in form and melody. He began working with a new tonality stripped of its accretions.
Since 1997 Andrew has lived and worked in Edmonton. Health issues forced an 8 year interruption from composing and a broken arm has limited his capacity to resume playing guitar. However, he has since returned to a rigorous schedule of intense composition since 2023. His work is now heavily influenced by Alice Bailey and the Agni Yoga teachings. Andrew's composition has become more abstract and internal as he seeks to express creative ideas that reveal the inner spiritual world of meaning.