Mormons are dominating the classical music scene, and people have begun taking note.
In a recent feature, World Religion News highlighted the successes of Mormon musicians Lindsey Stirling, Nathan Pacheco, the Piano Guys, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, all of whom recently achieved coveted spots on Billboard's Classical Music charts.
But those are only a few of the classical Mormon musicians who've made it onto Billboard charts.
Why Mormons Dominate Classical Music
So why are Mormon musicians finding such success?
World Religion News provided a little context, showing how our Church as a whole focuses on the sacred role of music: "According to Philip Barlow, a Mormon scholar at the Utah State University, there are faiths that 'view the chasm between God and humanity as bridgeable, and see music as one way of travelling that distance.' The [Mormon Tabernacle Choir] lives out this belief," Kelly Frazier writes.
As Elder Dallin H. Oaks states:
"The veil is very thin in the temples, especially when we join in worshipping through music. At temple dedications I have seen more tears of joy elicited by music than by the spoken word. I have read accounts of angelic choirs joining in these hymns of praise, and I think I have experienced this on several occasions. . . . Sacred music has a unique capacity to communicate our feelings of love for the Lord."
Elder Bruce R. McConkie reinforced this truth:
“Music is given of God to further his purposes. Sweet melodies mellow the souls of men and help prepare them for the gospel. After men receive the truth, songs of praise to Deity help to sanctify and cleanse their souls.”
Among the music that can lead us to the Lord, classical music often stirs souls and brings uplifting thoughts—which is probably one reason Mormons are drawn to it.
Mormons Topping Classical Billboard Charts
Last week, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's newest album, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Friends, reached no. 1 on Billboard's "Classical Crossover Albums" chart and no. 2 on Billboard's "Classical Albums" chart. The album features 12 world-renowned guest artists—such as Sting, Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, Amy Grant, and Angela Lansbury—and includes 11 tracks, most of which were recorded as live performances in the Salt Lake Conference Center.
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Watch the album trailer below:
Lindsey Stirling, known as "the dancing violinist," also landed on Billboard's Classical Music charts—reaching no. 5 on the "U.S. Billboard 200," no. 1 on the "U.S. Top Classical Albums," no. 1 on the "U.S. Dance/Electronic Albums," no. 2 on the "U.S. Digital Albums," no. 2 on the "U.S. Independent Albums," and no. 1 on the "U.S. Top Internet Albums," for the album Brave Enough. The album features popular artists Andrew McMahon and Christina Perri.
Stirling also recently received the "Top Dance/Electronic Album" award during Billboard's 2017 Music Awards.
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Check out a sneak peek from her album below:
Another Mormon musician who landed on Billboard's Classical charts is Nathan Pacheco, who recently released the album Higher. Pacheco reached the no. 1 spot on three Billboard charts when his album first released ("Classical Albums," "Classical Crossover Albums," and "Heatseekers - Mountain"), as well as hitting top rankings on eight other charts. The album features 12 of Pacheco's favorite spiritual songs, including "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," "In Christ Alone," and "The Lord's Prayer."
Watch a performance of "Nella Fantasia" from Pacheco's newest album below:
The final Billboard-charting Mormon artists spotlighted by World Religion News were the Piano Guys. Their first four several major-label albums each reached #1 on the "New Age Albums" and "Classical Albums" charts, and The Piano Guys once again hit the Billboard charts with their latest album, Uncharted, which is still listed in the top 10 on the "Classical" and "Classical Crossover" charts after over seven months. The album features hits such as "A Sky Full of Stars," "Hello/Lacrimosa," and an original new song, "Okay."
Watch a performance of "Fight Song/Amazing Grace" from Uncharted below:
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And these are only a few of the Mormons who've made a splash on the "Classical Albums" billboards. In 2016, the LDS trio GENTRI climbed to no. 2 on the "Classical Albums" chart, and in 2015 their unique and stunning mashup of "What Child Is This?" with "I Wonder As I Wander" took No. 1 on Billboard’s "Hot Single" chart. In addition, Jenny Oaks Baker, the 5 Browns, Josh Wright, and Paul Cardall, all of whom are classical performers, have made it onto Billboard charts!
Lead image from uptowntheatrenapa.com, metrolyrics.com, and deseretbook.com
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has collaborated with some of the most legendary vocalists and performers over the years. For this album, the Choir has assembled an unprecedented collection of recordings taken from standout performances over the past 15 years. Most of these performances were recorded live at the 20,000+ seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City. In addition, some real gems were uncovered or created specifically for this album, including a performance recorded live before millions of viewers at the start of the 2002 Winter Olympics (Sting & Yo-Yo Ma performing "Fragile") and new recordings such as Amy Grant's "Thy Word," The King's Singers' "I'm Running On," and Santino Fontana's "He Lives in You."
Blending electronic music with a diverse number of musical genres that include pop, country, rap, alternative and rock, Brave Enough displays Stirling's impressive ability to push her own musical boundaries while continuing to embrace her own unique signature sound.
Award-winning tenor Nathan Pacheco has toured the world featured alongside world-class artists such as Yanni, Katherine Jenkins, and Placido Domingo. In all of his travels across South America, through Europe and Asia, and across America, Nathan often includes spiritually rooted and uplifting songs in his repertoire. This album is a collection of his favorite songs that connect with those spiritual moments from his performances across the world. These songs take the listener on a beautiful journey with classic hymns such as "Be Thou My Vision," soaring Italian epics like "Nella Fantasia," and modern classics such as "Forever," by Kari Jobe. Performing with intimate acoustic backing and often featuring piano and cello, Nathan's desire with this album is to help people reach higher, to feel a deeper spiritual connection, and to find peace through songs that lift the soul.
The Piano Guys, the unstoppable classical/pop crossover music stylists, return with their first new studio album since 2014 with Uncharted. They have become YouTube superstars from their self-made innovative videos that have amassed over 1 BILLION views. Uncharted features their recent hits "Fight Song/Amazing Grace," "A Sky Full of Stars," "Hello/Lacrimosa," and "Jungle Book/Sarabande," all available for the first time on CD. The album also includes the new original song, "Okay," featuring TPG's own Al van der Beek on vocals plus more new song surprises.