Kurt Bestor (born 1958) is an American keyboardist and composer specializing in new-age, film scores, and jazz. He is known for his instrumental Christmas music similar to Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, some of which were featured on the Weather Channel during the holiday season in the 1980s and '90s. His well-known songs are "Prayer of the Children", "Mama Don't You Weep". He is also known for composing music for the 1993 movie Rigoletto, and for writing music for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic games, as well as various official The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints videos.
Kurt Bestor was born in 1958 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He took piano lessons from his mother as a child. His grandpa played the trumpet in Western Big bands and his uncle played with the trumpet in Jack Benny's band. Later on Kurt Bestor and his family moved to Orem, Utah in 1966, where he attended Orem High School and learned how to play the trumpet. When Bestor watched the 1975 film Jaws, he later recalled "I knew that's what I wanted to do when I saw Jaws during high school. I have made a goal to score films ever since." He decided to compose soundtracks for movies which he went on to do for The Buttercream Gang and Rigoletto. He was also influenced by classical music.
In 1977 Bestor and his family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He later went on a two-year religious mission in Yugoslavia, where he observed social problems such as homelessness, poverty and war, which would inspire his later song "Prayer of the Children." After his mission, Bestor married his first wife Melodie.
Bestor attended Brigham Young University to write his songs for student projects, and also composed music for the Sundance Institute's composer lab. He ultimately dropped out of Brigham Young University college to pursue a full-time musical career.
Music career (1987-today)
In 1988 Kurt Bestor released An Airus Christmas Volume 1 on cassette and CD. Consisting of music played on a synthesizer, it was a career success for Bestor. Also The Weather Channel played Kurt Bestor's Christmas music during the month of December in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He later went on to release Joyspring, Seasons, Evening Angels, An Airus Christmas Volume 2, and the well-known CD Innovators with his famous song "Prayer of the Children"—which he composed with his best friend Sam Cardon. He also released Noel Christmas Volume 3 and the album Sketches with the song Mama Don't You Weep. He also made music for the LDS Church videos and also composed the soundtrack for the 1993 movie Rigoletto and for the 2000 cartoon movie "The Scarecrow".
Kurt Bestor still performs at the Salt Lake Utah concerts and at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He also wrote albums like Innovators II and music for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics. He is troubled by the September 11, 2001 attacks and the Iraq War in the 2000s. Today he is still performing music in Salt Lake City concerts.
In 2014, Bestor released his first music video to accompany his song "Baroque Coco" from his recently released album, Kurt Bestor and the Collective; Outside the Lines.
Bestor's 20-year marriage to first wife Melodie ended in 1999, and a hasty second marriage to Holli Ammon (a singer) ended in 2001 after just a few months. Balancing career obligations with family duties became difficult and created distance between Bestor and his children, Kristin and Erika, both of whom were born with spina bifida, a spinal defect that causes partial paralysis and other disabilities.
- 1988: An Airus Christmas volume 1 (later known as Kurt Bestor Christmas volume 1 in 1996)
- 1988: Joyspring
- 1989: Seasons
- 1990: Joyspring II
- 1991: An Airus Christmas volume 2 (later known as Kurt Bestor Christmas volume 2 in 1996)
- 1993: Innovators
- 1994: Evening Angels
- 1995: Christmas (later known as Noel in 1997)
- 1997: Sketches
- 1998: Fathers
- 1999: The Dance
- 1999: One Silent Night
- 2002: Innovators II
- 2014: Outside the Front Lines
- 1989: A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation
- 1990: The Witching of Ben Wagner
- 1991: In Your Wildest Dreams
- 1991: The Seventh Brother
- 1992: Split Infinity
- 1992: The Buttercream Gang
- 1993: Rigoletto
- 1993: The Buttercream Gang in Secret of Treasure Mountain
- 1995: Behind the Waterfall
- 1998: No More Baths
- 1998: The Ghost of Dickens past
- 1999: New Testament soundtrack
- 1999: Book of Mormon soundtrack
- 1999: Doctrine and Covenants soundtrack
- 2000: The Scarecrow