Mormon Tabernacle organist to play at Utah Arts Festival

by | Jun. 21, 2010

News from Utah

An organist from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has never performed in the Utah Arts Festival. Now, as the festival enters its 34th year, that's about to change.

For the first time, the principal organist for the choir, Richard Elliott, will play Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" and other music at this year's arts festival, which runs June 24 to 27 at Library Square in Salt Lake City.

Setting up Elliott's performance hasn't been simple. The sound of a pipe organ had to be re-created — a tough feat at a festival that's primarily outdoors — a setting that dilutes and warps the purity of an organ, so other options had to be explored. Pulling off the vibrant sound requires a wall of 30 speakers and an acoustically dynamic venue inside. The digital organ Elliott will use is almost identical to the one he plays while touring with the choir, except that it rolled off an assembly line just weeks before the festival. It is being carefully maneuvered into an elevator piece-by-piece to be set up in the Main Library, where Elliott will perform in the Urban Room.

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