Center for Latter-day Saint Arts

On This Day...

A DAILY FACTOID OF OUR ART HISTORY

Mar. 6

On this day (1862), the Salt Lake Theatre was dedicated under the direction of one-time actor, furniture maker, and prophet, Brigham Young. The theatre, which held 1,500 people, became the cultural gathering spot for generations of early settlers. Young called the building, "one of the privileges and blessings which an All-Wise Creator had placed within the reach of creatures to enjoy." It was razed from November 1928 to January 1929.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Mar. 5

George Careless was born in London in 1839, (and died on this day in 1932) where he studied at the Royal Academy in London and performed at several exhibition spaces in the city. In the 1860s he joined the Church and immigrated to Utah, shortly afterword becoming the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Salt Lake Theatre orchestra, and the Salt Lake Opera Company. Careless also wrote several hymns including "The Morning Breaks," "Behold the Great Redeemer Die" and "O Lord of Hosts."

Read More
Glen Nelson
Mar. 4

Fannie Nampeyo was born on this day (1904). This master Hopi artist learned pottery from her mother, Nampeyo, whose work is in many museum collections and whom she assisted. Fannie created traditional pottery that also reflected LDS belief after her conversion in midlife.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Mar. 2

Sculpture Avard T. Fairbanks was born on this day (1897). He first learned to sculpt under his brother, J. Leo, who was already an accomplished artist, and continued to study in New York, Paris and Italy. Fairbanks created more than 100 public monuments, four of which are found in the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Mar. 1

American Ballet Theatre premiered the ballet Alma Mater on this day (1935) with choreography by George Balanchine--his first ballet with an American theme--and costumes by Latter-day Saint cartoonist, John Held, Jr. The premiere cartoonist and magazine illustrator of the 1920s, John Held, Jr., died on March 2, 1958. After a childhood in Salt Lake City, he moved to New York City and quickly became the go-to cover artist for the nation's magazines: The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, and Life. He drew flappers and college co-eds (as well as Victorian-era Mormons), and his cover for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tales of the Jazz Age epitomized the gin-soaked decade.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 28

The Jackman Music Corporation (formerly known as Sonos Music Resources) began on this day (1975) by Jerry Jackman and Carole Jackman and has since grown to become the leading publisher of LDS print music. Over 1,800 individual pieces have been published of folk and Mormon music.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 27

On this day (1941) Leigh Harline won two Oscars for his music for Disney's Pinocchio (Best Original Score with Paul Smith and Ned Washington; and Best Original Song with lyrics by Ned Washington). He is later nominated for five more Oscars in a career that featured 192 film scores, including Man's Search for Happiness.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 25

James A. FitzPatrick was born on this day (1894). In the course of his five-decade career, he made nearly three hundred films, including The City of Brigham Young, a 10-minute short film in 1944 that toured Salt Lake City and its landmarks.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 25

Electronic Dance Music superstar Kaskade (Ryan Raddon) was born on this day (1971). The DJ/producer whose albums top music charts and who can earn $200,000 or more for a single night is a headliner at the country's best music festivals, stadiums, and dance clubs.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 23

J. Spencer Cornwall, conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, was born on this day (1888). He led the Choir on some of its first trips outside the United States, most notably to perform at the dedication of the Swiss Temple. Cornwall also wrote Stories of Our Mormon Hymns: A Century of Singing, which was a history of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and composed the music to “Softly Beams the Sacred Dawning.”

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 20

One of the first operas on a Native American subject (co-written by Yankton Sioux Zitkala-Sa [Gertrude Bonnin] and including Ute Nation performers and religious practices), The Sun Dance by LDS composer William Frederick Hanson premiered at the Orpheus Hall in Vernal, Utah on this day (1913). It had two separate productions at BYU, and then Salt Lake City and New York City.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 19

Jonathan Leo Fairbanks is the son of American sculpture Avard Fairbanks, and was born today in 1933. The younger Fairbanks is also an artist as well as an accomplished curator of American arts and antiques. Some of his works can be found in the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Alhambra in Spain.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 18

Leroy Robertson's Oratorio from the Book of Mormon is premiered on this date (1953) by the Utah Symphony, Maurice Abravanel, conducting. The idea for the massive work that tells the story of Jesus Christ using texts from the Book of Mormon came from Elder Melvin J. Ballard circa 1919, but Robertson began continual work nearly two decades later. The premiere was so successful that it was performed six times in seven weeks to sell-out crowds and commercial recordings were made in 1953, 1961, 1978, 1986, and 1996. "Leroy Robertson and the Oratorio from the Book of Mormon: Reminiscences of a Daughter," by Marian Robertson Wilson, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: 8/2 (1999) 4-13, 84.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb 16

Lansing McLoskey heard the news on this day (2011) that he had won the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A Grammy award-winning composer whose inventive and acclaimed works--commissioned and award-winning--have been performed across the U.S. and in 19 other countries on six continents, McLoskey hails from California, was educated at Harvard, and teaches in Miami.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 10

Commentator, radio host, and author Glenn Beck was born on this day (1964). A politically conservative on-air personality, Beck is the author of 19 books of non-fiction, 7 novels, 2 children's books, and comic book. At his peak, seven consecutive Beck books hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list, and he has held that position in four separate categories.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 9

Frank Wilson Asper (1892) was a composer and organist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, beginning from 1925. He studied at conservatories and universities in Berlin, Boston, Utah, and Chicago. Asper also wrote the words and music for several Hymns, seven of which are found in the 1985 hymnal.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 8

On this day (2002), the Winter Olympic Games began in Salt Lake City Utah, which featured music by composer Kurt Bestor. He is also known for his scores for official Church videos and participation with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 2

Architect Taylor A. Woolley died on this day (1965) after a career building churches, buildings, and homes in Utah. He began his professional life with the firm of Frank Llloyd Wright, and in 1909 travelled with Wright to Italy to work on what would be one of the most important books about architecture of the century, Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe (the Wasmuth Portfolio). Woolley worked for Wright in the Oak Park Studio and the early days of Taliesin I.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Feb. 1

Lisa DeSpain's name jumped to the fore on this day (2001) with a glowing review in The New York Times. Choreographer Donlin Foreman commissioned DeSpain's Mean Ole' World for Buglisi/Foreman Dance company. The premiere, in which DeSpain played along with a combo called Catfish Corner, earned the jazz composer these kudos, "...DeSpain composed a rousing score lustily played...."

Read More
Glen Nelson
Jan. 31

Author Zane Grey was born on this day (1872). His most successful novel is about Mormon characters, Riders of the Purple Sage (1912). It tells the story of Jane Withersteen, a young Mormon woman who is conflicted between her family and "gentiles" that surround them. As literature, it shaped the genre of the Western novel, sparked multiple films, and has been called "the most popular western novel of all time." It also stoked the interest in Anti-Mormon literature and film.

Read More
Glen Nelson