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Jonathan Ledger, D.M.A.

Assistant Professor of Music • Choral Director


Walton Fine Arts Center 179
Jonathan Ledger, D.M.A.

Music has been my passion since I was very young. I took piano lessons, sang in choir, and played in band from elementary school through college. I never imagined I could have a career as a musician, so I entered my freshman year at Emory & Henry College (a small private liberal arts institution in Virginia much like University of the Ozarks) as a biology major with the intent to attend medical school after graduation and become a surgeon. While I diligently studied biology, chemistry, physics, theatre, and many other disciplines, I also was able to sing in the Concert Choir – the premiere auditioned touring ensemble of the college. My time in the Emory & Henry Concert, Cappella, and Oratorio Choirs proved to be transformative years. Many of my closest friends were music majors, and they encouraged me to take a conducting class with them during the spring semester of my junior year since I had been a drum major in high school. I had time in my schedule, so I decided that experience might be fun. I quickly rediscovered my love of conducting and asked the professor if he would be open to guiding me in a conducting independent study in the fall. He quickly agreed, and the following semester, I found myself focusing on my conducting more than on studying for the MCAT and working on medical school applications. One day in my lesson, I asked my professor if he thought I could perhaps one day do what he did – conduct choirs at the college/university level. Without hesitation, he told me that I absolutely could. He said I had enough natural talent and work ethic to achieve that goal. That day changed my life. At that point, I was a senior, so I decided to complete my biology degree and remain at Emory & Henry for two more years to complete a second degree in music. During my time there, I frequently conducted the Concert Choir on tour and served as Music/Choir Director at Aldersgate United Methodist Church and later at Green Spring Presbyterian Church. I was also fortunate enough to sing the bass solos in Palestrina’s Missa Brevis in F Major and Mozart’s Coronation Mass.

After completing two undergraduate degrees at Emory & Henry College, I attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio to complete a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting. During my time at Bowling Green, I conducted Collegiate Chorale and the University Men’s Chorus on national tours and also served as Choir Director at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. I was fortunate enough to sing the countertenor solo in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in performances with Collegiate Chorale throughout Austria and Hungary, as well. After completing my master’s, I served as Director of Choral Activities at Osbourn High School in Manassas, Virginia, for three years. At Osbourn, I conducted five choirs, taught music theory and history, and served as the musical director of the spring musical each year. After three years of teaching, I decided it was time to complete the penultimate step in my journey toward becoming a college choir director, so I began pursuit of a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting at The University of Alabama. In spring 2014, I served as sabbatical replacement for the Director of Choral Activities and conducted University Singers while my major professor spent the semester abroad. During my final year of studies, I served as conductor of University Chorus, leading the ensemble in its first appearance at Alabama Honor Choir as well as a fall concert and spring lecture recital. I also taught undergraduate conducting for two years while studying at the Capstone and served as the Music/Choir Director at Northport First United Methodist Church.

In the fall of 2016, I joined the faculty of the University of the Ozarks. I thoroughly enjoy the time I spend teaching and mentoring students each day as I conduct Chamber Singers and Chapel choir and teach a variety of lecture courses for the music department, including Music Theory & Aural Skills, Music Appreciation, Basic Conducting, and others.

Special Projects / Initiatives

My creative and research interests include the work of American composers, rarely known and performed choral works, and combining choral performances with other creative disciplines (dance, visual art, theatre, literature, etc.). Specifically, I am interested in studying how the life experiences and challenges of LGBTQ composers have influenced their works. I hope to use this research to reach singers from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and identities through meaningful and formative musical experiences to foster societal change.