Principal Mormon Tabernacle Organist
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, and former student at the Peabody Conservatory and the Catholic University of America, Richard Elliott earned a bachelor of music degree from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. A former assistant organist for Philadelphia’s famed Wanamaker organ, he currently sits on the advisory boards for the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ and the Eccles Organ Festival at Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine. Prior to his appointment as Tabernacle organist in 1991, he was an assistant professor of organ at Brigham Young University.
Richard Elliott has been a full-time Tabernacle organist since 1991 and the principal organist for the Choir since 2007. He and a staff of four other organists share the burden of a full schedule. The staff cooperates to play for daily recitals in the Tabernacle (twice daily during the summer), weekly broadcasts of the famous Music and the Spoken Word, and at the semiannual general conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to these duties on Temple Square, Richard also hits the road, traveling to perform for audiences worldwide. In the course of his tours, he has been invited to play in some of the world’s most prestigious venues.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir music director Mack Wilberg says, “Richard’s genius is unquestionable. Richard plays so masterfully that the organ seems only to be an extension of his person. I think he was made to play that instrument.” Richard has received the praise of many of his colleagues, including the Crystal Cathedral’s Frederick Swann and Michael Barone, host of Minnesota Public Radio’s Pipedreams organ program.
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