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In 1993, the university began a program of biennial commissions to LDS composers to create new religious oratorios with texts drawn from scripture. These new Sacred Music Series works have been performed in several major nationalvenues. Building on a tradition begun in 1989 when the school commissioned Darwin Wolford's Behold, He Cometh! for its centennial celebration, the Sacred Music Series continues to contributesignificantly to the growing body of new music works inspired by President Spencer W. Kimball when he said,
"If we strive for perfection--the best and greatest--and are never satisfied with mediocrity, we can excel. In the field of both composition and performance, why cannot someone write a greater oratorio than Handel's Messiah? The best has not yet been composed nor produced" (Spencer W. Kimball, The Gospel Vision of the Arts, 1978).
The most recent Sacred Music performance of God's Everlasting Love, composed by Robert M. Cundick (music) and Elder David A. Bednar (text) premiered in November 2009 in Rexburg, Twin Falls, and Salt Lake City.
The most recent commission, announced for the summer months of 2012, will be composed by K. Newell Dayley.
Each new work is performed by musical ensembles from BYU-Idaho including the Symphony Orchestra, Collegiate Singers, and the Men's and Women's Choirs. Often local institute or area choirs also participate in regional concerts. Recordings of all works are available for purchase.
Funding for the Sacred Music Series comes from private donations with generous support from the Endowment for the Performing and Fine Arts and the Snow Society.
Concert presentations of each oratorio combine the talents of a 200-plus chorus, soloists, and the 90-piece BYU-Idaho Symphony Orchestra.
Past Sacred Music Series
1986 - Darwin Wolford, Behold, He Cometh!
1993 - Crawford Gates, Visions of Eternity
1995 - Robert M. Cundick, Song of Nephi
1997 - K. Newell Dayley, Immanuel
1999 - Merrill Jenson, Come Unto Christ
2001 - Daniel E. Gawthrop, The Passion and the Promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ
2003 - Dr. A. Laurence Lyon, Visions of Light and Truth
2005 - David Zabriskie, The Testament of Paul, His Witness of Christ to the World
2007 - Dr. Eda Ashby, The Tree of Life: Redemption
2009 - Robert M. Cundick, God's Everlasting Love
2012 - K. Newell Dayley
SACRED MUSIC CDs and DVDs are now available online
or by contacting:
Phone: 1 (800) 995-2713
Phone: 1 (208) 496-2211
Fax: 1 (208) 496-2267