Dr. Mack Wilberg was officially named today as the new music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir by Mac Christensen, president of the choir.
Dr. Edgar Thompson, former director of the University of Utah School of Music, was named as the interim assistant to Wilberg until a formal search is undertaken and completed for a new associate music director for the choir.
As music director, Wilberg will oversee all musical and creative aspects of the choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, the Temple Square Chorale and the Bells on Temple Square, including selecting repertoire for concerts, recordings and tours and providing the creative direction for the weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. He will also be involved with selecting and training new choir members. He, along with the choir president, Mac Christensen, will represent the choir at public functions.
Prior to this appointment, Wilberg served as associate music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and conductor of the Temple Square Chorale for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was appointed to those positions in May 1999. Wilberg replaces former director Dr. Craig Jessop who led the choir for over eight years.
He is internationally recognized for his choral compositions and arrangements and publishes exclusively with Oxford University Press. His biography on the Oxford University Press Web site states, “Wilberg’s arrangements and compositions, with their grandeur, energy, and charm, inspire performers and audiences everywhere.”
He is a former professor of music at Brigham Young University and is active as a composer, arranger, guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and abroad. His compositions and arrangements are performed and recorded by choral organizations throughout the world. In addition to the many compositions and arrangements he has written for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, his works have most recently been performed by such artists as Renée Fleming, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, The King’s Singers, Audra McDonald and narrators Walter Cronkite and Charles Osgood.
Wilberg received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California. He and his wife, Rebecca, are parents of four children.
Thompson, in addition to his former duties with the University of Utah’s School of Music, had been the music director for the university’s A Cappella Choir. He is also a former conductor of the Utah Symphony Chorus and a former member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Thompson was serving in a volunteer capacity with the choir at the time of his appointment as interim assistant. He will assist Wilberg with the choir and orchestra until a new associate music director is named.
A committee is being formed to conduct a Church-wide search for a new associate music director. Applications will be accepted beginning in August. They will be reviewed through the end of the year, with an appointment by the First Presidency anticipated in the spring of 2009.