Tabernacle choir has new director

The First Presidency has announced the appointment of Craig D. Jessop as music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Brother Jessop now assumes leadership of the choir following the retirement of Jerold D. Ottley on Dec. 3.

As music director, Brother Jessop will lead the musical ministry of the world-renowned choir. Together with his associate directors, Mack Wilberg and Barlow Bradford, he will also be responsible for the Temple Square Chorale, the training choir for the Tabernacle Choir, and the recently organized Orchestra at Temple Square.

Brother Jessop had been serving as an associate director of the Tabernacle Choir since 1995. His work with the choir was preceded by a wealth of both professional and academic music experience.

Brother Jessop received his bachelor of music degree from Utah State University, his master of arts degree from BYU and his doctorate of musical arts degree from Stanford University.

Prior to his work with the Tabernacle Choir, he served as a lieutenant colonel in the music programs of the United States Air Force. His assignments included director of the Singing Sergeants in Washington, D.C., 1980-87; commander/conductor of the Band of the United States Air Forces in Europe, 1987-91; and commander/conductor of the Air Combat Command Heartland of America Band, 1991-95.

He has also served as the musical director of the Maryland Choral Society, the Rhineland-Pfalz International Choir of Germany and the Omaha Symphonic Chorus.

In addition to his work as conductor, he has been an active baritone vocalist and has performed in the Merola Opera Training Program of the San Francisco Opera.

Since 1989, he has been a member of the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, participating with Mr. Shaw in concerts and recordings throughout Europe and at Carnegie Hall. In February 1999, shortly after Mr. Shaw's death, Brother Jessop directed the completion of a project begun by the late maestro: a recording with the Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony on the Telarc label of Mr. Shaw's English adaptation of "A German Requiem" by Johannes Brahms.

A native of Millville, Utah, Brother Jessop and his wife, RaNae, live in North Salt Lake with their four children.

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