List of Mormon Tabernacle Choir music directors

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The music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is responsible for musical and creative supervision of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, the Temple Square Chorale, and the Bells on Temple Square, which are all official musical organizations within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[1] Part of a group of 85 Welch converts that immigrated in 1849, John Parry was invited by Brigham Young to organize a choir for the church's next general conference.[2]


Craig Jessop.
Name Years Notes
Parry, JohnJohn Parry 1849–54 Converted Welsh Baptist minister; organized the choir at the request of Brigham Young.[2]
Goddard, StephenStephen Goddard 1854–56
Smithies, JamesJames Smithies 1856–62
Thomas, Charles JohnCharles John Thomas 1862–65 First director to lead the choir in the current Salt Lake Tabernacle building in regular performances
Sands, RobertRobert Sands 1865–69 Directed the choir for the first performance in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, 1867.[3]
Careless, GeorgeGeorge Careless 1869–80[4] Had previously directed the Salt Lake Theatre Orchestra[5]
Griggs, ThomasThomas Griggs 1880 Appointed in absentia. Composer of the music to Gently Raise the Sacred Strain
Beesley, EbenezerEbenezer Beesley 1880–89[4] Composed 11 hymns, which are still included in the current LDS hymnal
Stephens, EvanEvan Stephens 1890–1916[4] Directed the choir for its first recording, and was the first employed full-time.[2]
Lund, Anthony C.Anthony C. Lund 1916–35[4] Directed the choir for its first national performance of Music and the Spoken Word on July 15, 1929.[2]
Cornwall, J. SpencerJ. Spencer Cornwall 1935–57[6] Directed the choir in the film This is Cinerama,[7] and for its first performance abroad in 1955.[2]
Condie, Richard P.Richard P. Condie 1957–74[6] 1959 Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".[8]
Welch, Jay E.Jay E. Welch 1974[9] Served from July to December before retiring for personal reasons[9]
Ottley, JeroldJerold Ottley 1974–99[6] Directed the choir for numerous commercial recordings, including one with The United States Air Force Band that required special legislation in Congress to permit the Band to be published.[10]
Jessop, CraigCraig Jessop 1999–2008[11] Along with the choir, was a 2003 recipient of the National Medal of Arts[12]
Wilberg, MackMack Wilberg 2008–present[11] A published composer who directed choirs at Brigham Young University.[11]

Works cited[edit]


  1. ^ "Mack Wilberg". Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Retrieved April 9, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Miller, Roger L. (1994), "Mormon Tabernacle Choir", in Powell, Allan Kent, Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917 
  3. ^ Pyper, pg. 197
  4. ^ a b c d Pyper, p. 202
  5. ^ Maxwell, David (February 1984). "The Morning Breaks: George Careless, Musical Pioneer". Ensign. Retrieved April 10, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Porcaro, pg. 2
  7. ^ Porcaro, pg. iii
  8. ^ "The Lord's Prayer". Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Retrieved April 10, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Porcaro, pg. 138
  10. ^ Porcaro, pgs. 150, 314–15
  11. ^ a b c Arave, Lynn (March 28, 2008). "Mack Wilberg named new director of Tabernacle". Deseret News. Retrieved April 10, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Lifetime Honors: National Medal of Arts". National Endowment for the Arts. Archived from the original on August 26, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2009.