Jonathan Palmer spent the early part of his life in Bath, taking up the cello at the age of fifteen. After studying composition with Andrew Byrne at Reading University, he studied conducting with George Hurst and John Carewe, and developed his compositional skills for a while under Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. His teaching career began in Southampton, continued in Bruton, Somerset, diversified in Bermuda and he finally settled in Bristol, where he was appointed as Director of Music at Clifton High School in 1994.
He decided to retire in 2007 in order to concentrate on his composition, and for eight years was a part-time research student at the University of Bristol. In August 2010 he was awarded the Raymond Warren Prize for Composition. Having studied under Professor Geoff Poole and Professor John Pickard, he completed his PhD in Composition in January 2015. His portfolio consisted of five original compositions, and a written commentary that examined the role of extra-musical stimuli as catalysts in the creative musical process. In order to consolidate his own compositional language, his research focussed on composition, drawing stimulus from visual artworks, from the writings of their creators, and from naturally-occurring visual structures. He is now a Fellow of Trinity College, London, in Composition.
Over the years he has conducted numerous choirs and orchestras in many large-scale events. In September 2013, he was appointed conductor of Portishead Choral Society. In the spring of 2014, he composed a new cantata for the choir to coincide with their Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Awake the Voice, a thirty minute work in six movements for chorus, four soloists, audience and full orchestra was premiered on 13th December, 2014. And will be performed once again in Clifton Cathedral on December 9th, 2018.
As well as playing the double bass player in orchestras, he also enjoys playing the cello in chamber music. In his spare time, he enjoys maintaining his classic cars, instrument restoration, cooking and travelling.
1969 University of Reading: BA (Hons) in Music Upper Second.
2007 – 2015 Research student (part-time) at University of Bristol:
PhD in Composition (2015)
2015 Fellow of Trinity College, London FTCL
In August 2010, Jonathan was awarded the 'Raymond Warren Prize for Composition' at the University of Bristol.