John Longhurst

Tabernacle Organist (1977-2007)

A California native, John Longhurst moved with his family to Salt Lake City at age 10 following the death of his father.

He received both bachelor and master of music degrees from the University of Utah, where he studied organ with Alexander Schreiner. While studying at the university, Longhurst also sang with The Tabernacle Choir, giving him an opportunity to closely observe the work and artistry of Tabernacle organists Frank Asper, Alexander Schreiner, and, beginning in 1965, Robert Cundick.

From 1966 to 1969, Longhurst attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where his organ teachers were David Craighead and Robert Noehren. There he received the doctor of musical arts degree in 1970.

In 1969, Longhurst joined the faculty of Brigham Young University, where he taught music theory and organ and presided over the university’s 52-bell Centennial Carillon. He was appointed Tabernacle organist in 1977. In addition to regular recital and accompanying duties, he made several organ recordings and worked with his colleagues on the acquisition and design of seven new pipe organs for Temple Square, in addition to helping plan a careful renovation of the Tabernacle’s venerable Æolian-Skinner organ.

Following his retirement in 2007, Longhurst wrote Magnum Opus, which details the design and construction of the Schoenstein organ in Temple Square’s 21,000-seat Conference Center. After researching the early life of Joseph Ridges, builder of the original Salt Lake Tabernacle organ, Longhurst also wrote an unpublished monograph, Joseph H. Ridges: London to Sydney to Zion 1827 to 1857. Longhurst continues a close association with the Temple Square organ staff, assisting with a variety of projects and performing occasionally on the daily recital series.

Longhurst is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and ASCAP and is a Fellow in the American Guild of Organists. He is married to Nancy Meldrim of Syracuse, New York, and they are the parents of five children.

Additional information

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Making of the Conference Center Organ

Magnum Opus: The Building of the Schoenstein Organ at the Conference Center