Canada Toronto Mission Centennial Opening Concert

Friday  28 June  2019  7:30 PM    Friday  28 June  2019 9:15 PM
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Last update 29/06/2019

Tabernacle Organist Emeritus, Clay Christiansen will perform a Centennial organ concert. Listen to a soprano solo and a flute and violin duet and enjoy some surprises as well.

Internationally acclaimed, The Edmonton Journal writes, 

“Beginning a program with Bach’s D Major Prelude and Fugue is not for the timid….

Christiansen, a quiet, elegant player, pulled off an assured and nearly perfect performance while

negotiating so many stop and manual changes that we hardly ever heard the fugue subject the

same way twice. In the hands of a less sensitive player, all this fiddling with color and timbre

could interfere with the continuity of the piece, but the D Major fugue positively invites this

kind of treatment, and the recitalist pulled it off masterfully.…Christiansen brought the evening

to a thrilling conclusion….cleared the music rack and delivered a really stunning performance of

the [Finale: Reubke Sonata].”

Dr. Clay Christiansen was appointed organist at the world famous Salt Lake Tabernacle onTemple Square in 1982. Before taking his post at the Tabernacle, he served for ten years as organist and choirmaster at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Salt Lake City, where he became known for his New Year’s Eve Bach recitals and weekly half-hour radio concerts. He also served five years as organist for Congregation Kol Ami. Tabernacle Organist Emeritus since retiring April, 2018 after nearly 36 years,

Dr. Christiansen shared responsibilities at the console of the renowned Æolian-Skinner 206-rank, 11,623 pipe instrument in the Tabernacle, as well as the monumental Schoenstein 5-manual pipe organ in the nearby Conference Center, performing daily Temple Square organ recitals and as organist for the Tabernacle Choir’s weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word.

Dr. Christiansen’s solo performances have taken him across the United States, Canada, and England. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. hosted Clay at the 2019 annual Octave of Easter Celebrity Recital April 28th. 

Clay has performed with the Tabernacle Choir in Europe and Israel and has been featured artist for such groups as the U.S. Air Force Band/Singing Sergeants, Chicago Brass Quintet, and the Danish Radio Choir. He has been invited to perform for conventions of the American Institute of Organbuilders and the American Guild of Organists.

Clay served for 27 years on the Musical Instruments Selection Committee at Church Headquarters. He has been primarily responsible for the stoplist design on meetinghouse organs now found in Latter-day Saint chapels throughout the world.

AA member of Phi Kappa Phi, he completed a doctorate in composition at the University of Utah. His doctoral dissertation is a cantata for chorus, orchestra, and soprano and tenor soloists titled Isaiah, the Prophet. Dr. Christiansen also holds a master of music degree from the University of Utah, as well as a bachelor of music degree from Brigham Young University. During his junior and senior years at BYU, Clay played piano for the Bud Hutchings Dance Orchestra of Lehi, Utah. Organ studies were with J.J. Keeler at Brigham Young University, former Tabernacle organist Alexander Schreiner, and Robert Noehren, internationally acclaimed organist and University of Michigan Organist Emeritus. Three of Clay’s students became the only organists ever to perform on the Utah Symphony’s annual Salute to Youth concerts.

Christiansen’s solo organ CD album Organ of the Mormon Tabernacle is on the Klavier label. Solo organ performances may also be heard on Now Let Us Rejoice: Organ Hymns for the Sabbath on the Tabernacle Choir label, St. Ambrose Catholic Church Premiere Recital, The King of Instruments documentary DVD, and solo/duo performances on The Organ at the Mission Inn. His organ and vocal compositions are published by MorningStar Music Publishers, Harold Flammer, Jackman Music and SDG Press.

Writings also include works for chorus, string quartet, woodwind trio, and chamber and symphony orchestras. His latest work, a five-movement suite for organ dedicated to his wife, is due to be released by MorningStar Music this Summer.

The Utah Scera Foundation for the Arts has honored Clay as the 2019 recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Christiansen and his wife, Diane, are the parents of 13 children and have 60 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Diane and Clay celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last July.

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