Merrill Bradshaw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Merrill Bradshaw (18 June 1929 in Lyman, Wyoming – 12 July 2000 in St. George, Utah) was an American composer and professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) where he was the John R. Halliday Professor of music.

Bradshaw was born in Lyman, Wyoming to Melvin K. Bradshaw and his wife the former Lorene Hamblin. He went to junior high school in Salt Lake City and high school in Portland, Oregon while his father oversaw the construction of air landing facilities in the Aleutian islands. The family then moved back to Lyman, where Bradshaw graduated from high school.

Bradshaw did his undergraduate studies at BYU, where he was mentored by John R. Halliday. He then served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Switzerland. After returning from his mission he was accepted into BYU's á capella choir. It was while in this choir that he met Janet Spilsbury, who he later married. Besides Halliday, other BYU professors of music Bradshaw studied with were Leon Dallin and Crawford Gates.

Bradshaw received a masters in music and a doctor of musical arts degree both from the University of Illinois. Among those he studied with at Illinois were Carl Fuerstner, Hubert Kessler, and Claire Richards.

In addition to being a professor at BYU, Bradshaw was also the first to hold the position of composer-in-residence there, also served as executive director of the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and directed BYU's semester abroad program in Austria on multiple occasions as well. He worked closely with Ralph Laycock, BYU's orchestra conductor, and Ralph Woodward, the conductor of BYU's premier choir, in getting his various compositions performed.

In addition to his work with BYU Bradshaw was a key figure in Latter-day Saint music. He was made the head of the composition division of the LDS Music Department in December 1972. In 1973-1978 Bradshaw headed an LDS Church committee that sought to produce a new hymnbook, but its efforts were suspended without final result in the latter year.[1]

Merrill and Janet Bradshaw had seven children.

Selected works[edit]

  • Symphony No. 1 (1957)
  • Orchestra Music, Symphony No. 2 (1962)
  • Piece for strings (1967)
  • Symphony No. 3 (1967)
  • Symphony No. 4 (1968)
  • Peace Memorial (1971)
  • Four Mountain Sketches (1974)
  • Centennial Fantasy (1975)
  • Yankee Celebration (1975)
  • Piece for 2 horns and strings (1977)
  • Symphony No. 5 (1978)
  • A Symphonic Tribute (1984)
  • Descants (1986)
  • Kinesis (1988)
  • Museum Piece (1993)
  • Life Song (1996)
  • Concerto for piano and orchestra (1955)
  • Divertimento for 4 pianos and orchestra (1963)
  • Concerto for viola and orchestra (1979)
  • Homages, Concerto for viola and small orchestra (1979)
  • Concerto for violin and orchestra (1981)
Chamber music
  • Meditation for flute and organ (1955)
  • Septet for flute, oboe, clarinet and string quartet (1955)
  • Dialogue for flute and horn (1956)
  • Suite for viola alone (1956)
  • Sonata for violin and piano (1956)
  • String Quartet No. 1 (1957)
  • 3 Sketches for viola (1963?)
  • Sonatina for flute and piano (1965)
  • Suite for oboe and piano (1965)
  • Brass Quintet (1969)
  • String Quartet No. 2 (1969)
  • Duo for flute and clarinet (1980)
  • Tales from the Desert Winds for string quartet (1982)
  • Fantasy for clarinet and piano (1983)
  • Foretaste for string quartet (1984)
  • Fantasy Dialogues for cello and piano (1989)
  • Beneath the Sea (1953)
  • Sarah's Soliloquy (1967)
  • Der Schwyzer Missionar (1988?)
  • Visionscape (1991)
  • The Articles of Faith for chorus a cappella (1960)
  • Three Psalms for chorus a cappella (1971)
  • Christ Metaphors, Festival of Images for chorus and orchestra (1989)
  • The Restoration, Oratorio for chorus and orchestra (1989)
  • 3 Songs on Verses by Samuel Hoffenstein (1962)
  • Come Ye Disconsolate for soprano and piano (1984)


  1. ^ Michael Hicks, “How to Make (an Unmake) a Mormon Hymnbook,” in A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration, ed. David J. Whittaker and Arnold K. Garr (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011), 503–19.