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Faculty Spotlight: Jonathan Palant

Updated: Mar 6, 2019

Name: Jonathan Palant

Hometown: Lexington, Massachusetts

Family members: Spouse Mark, Son Noah (age 5), Daughter Caroline (age 2), Lola, our 70-pound pit bull and the friendliest dog anyone has ever met (age 7)

Rank order of siblings: I am the youngest of three children.

Undergraduate and Graduate programs:

University of Michigan – Bachelors in Music Education, 1997

Temple University – Masters in Choral Conducting, 2002

Michigan State University – Doctor of Musical Arts, 2007

Dissertation: “Unifying A Nation: Male Singing Societies and Part Songs in Nineteenth Century Germany”

Current Research/Publications:

Brothers, Sing On! Conducting the Tenor-Bass Choir (book), Hal Leonard Corporation

Brothers, Sing On! Jonathan Palant Choral Series, Mark Foster/Hal Leonard Publishing

Coolest part of your job: Building enough trust with my students to allow them to take risks with our music making. There is nothing like creating live art when everyone is free and confident.

If you could teach any other elective, what would it be: An introductory course on conducting.

Dream end-of-career job: I love what I do now and can’t imagine doing anything different! Sounds cliché, but it’s true and I hope to create engaging and inspiring music for a very, very long time.

Future non-career ambitions: I love to travel, so I’d like to walk the spice markets in India, see the seals bask in Antarctica, go camping in Yellowstone Park, ride an elephant in Thailand, and dive the Great Barrier Reef – again!

Favorite part(s) about Dallas: Dallas, in my opinion, is not a great place to visit, but it’s an awesome place to live. There are great restaurants, terrific shopping, parks in every corner of the city, and it’s full of welcoming, diverse, intelligent, cultured people. Being a liberal Yankee myself, I never saw myself enjoying Texas as I do.

One surprising thing UTD doesn't know about you: I love watching, tracking, and learning about airplanes. I have several apps that allow me to see every commercial plane in the sky at any given moment. I’ll also listen to air traffic control from time to time. To be honest, I do the same for police and fire and have “responded” on my own from time to time.

The most exciting thing you've done: When I was 16, I played under the great conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. I suppose conducting at Carnegie Hall comes in a close second.

What you would do with $1 million: I would expand programming for the Dallas Street Choir, a musical outlet for those experiencing homelessness and disadvantage. At present, we have one choir that meets weekly. $1 million would allow the organization to hire more staff, develop more in-depth curriculum, expand our musical offerings, and perhaps hire a liaison to facilitate housing and employment for our members. Not a fancy goal, but a necessary one.

What you would do with stopped time: I would never want time to stand still, as progress only happens when we take risks and learn from our experiences. Stopping time means nothing changes, grows, or, ultimately, gets better.

If you could have any superpower: For a long time, I wanted the ability to become invisible, as it would allow me to see and hear things in their purest form, i.e. nothing filtered and everything honest and raw. Now, I think I’d like the power to travel back in time. Is that even a superpower? That said, I would love to meet J.S. Bach, have a dinner with Dr. King, and explain to those who crafted the second amendment how it would be misinterpreted for generations to come.

What you want to tell the Alumni Association/students: UT Dallas continues to be a wonderful place where students become well-rounded members of society. I am proud the choral program contributes to this and it’s a joy to see the curricular choirs flourish. Current students have a standing invitation to join University Choir or Chamber Singers, while alumni should consider attending a performance in the near future!


The next choir concert will be March 8th at Arapaho United Methodist Church, at 7:30pm. Freshmen scholars Julia LaFond, Solvay Linde, Michelle Patten, and Ben Wise are all a part of the performance. Details here!


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