Clay Christiansen (organist)

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Clay Christiansen
Clay christiansen organist.jpg
Clay Christiansen at the organ in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Background information
Emery, Utah
OriginSalt Lake City, Utah
GenresClassical, Choral
Occupation(s)Organist at the Salt Lake Tabernacle, LDS Conference Center, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Congregation Kol Ami
Years active1982–2018
Associated actsMormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, Canadian Brass, United States Air Force Band, Danish Radio Choir

Clay Christiansen /krɪsˈtænsɛn/ was an organist for the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ and for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He accompanied the Choir in Salt Lake City and when it was on tour. Christiansen gave organ recitals in the Tabernacle and the Conference Center.

Christiansen had a fascination with music from an early age. He was born in the small city of Emery, Utah in 1949. He would play on the piano for hours on end. When neighbor children would come to play he would rather stay in and practice the piano. He played his first piano solo, We Thank Thee oh God for a Prophet, in church at the age of six. He played by ear until the age of eight when he took his first piano lessons. He was the accompanist for his church Sunday School and Priesthood services and the substitute ward organist at the age of eleven.

Christiansen has a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and masters and Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Utah (1988).

From 1972-1982 Christiansen was the organist for St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Salt Lake City. Christiansen was also organist at Congregation Kol Ami, a Jewish synagogue in Salt Lake City. From 1982 to 2018 he had been one of the Tabernacle Organists.

Christiansen and his wife, Diane, are the parents of 13 children.

Christiansen is also a composer. He wrote the music to the hymn "In Fasting We Approach Thee". He has written a broad variety of choral, piano and organ compositions and transcriptions. His works appear in the catalogs of MorningStar Music Publishers, Shawnee Press, Jackman Music Press and SDG Press.[1]


  1. ^ "SLC AGO Super Saturday Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). The Salt Lake City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Archived from the original (pdf) on July 28, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2011.