The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Alexander Schreiner Spent more than 50 Years as a Tabernacle Organist—Here Are Nine Facts about Him

For more than 50 years Alexander Schreiner played the organ at the Salt Lake Tabernacle. He performed daily recitals, supported the Choir during broadcasts, and toured the world showcasing his talent. Below are nine facts about his marvelous career:

He was headed toward a career as an electrical engineer before a member of the First Presidency of the Church influenced him to pursue music.

At age eight he was called to be the pianist for his Sunday School, sacrament meeting, choir practice, and other gatherings of his local congregation.

Not only did he study under noted Tabernacle organist John J. McClellan, but he also studied in Paris at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

His talents were so famous that he was frequently invited to inaugurate new organs. He even toured the country eventually performing in at least 44 states in the United States.

He earned his first Ph.D. in 1954. In January 1974 he earned his third doctoral degree, an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, from Utah State University.

He composed the music for nine hymns in the current LDS hymnbook: “Truth Eternal,” “Lead Me into Life Eternal,” “Thy Spirit, Lord, Has Stirred Our Souls,” “While of These Emblems We Partake,” “God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son,” “In Memory of the Crucified,” “Lord, Accept into thy Kingdom,” “Behold Thy Sons and Daughters Lord,” and “Holy Temples on Mount Zion.”

When preparing for a concert he would memorize a page of music each day. He once said, “To play from memory lifts you off the ground and into the wide blue sky. The musical expression takes over.”

The First Presidency of the Church issued the statement below after his death in 1987:

We are saddened by the passing of Alexander Schreiner, who served the Church as Tabernacle organist for more than half of his long life. He contributed to the Church through thousands of organ recitals and several decades of performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. His artistry was widely recognized in music circles, and his compositions for the organ are used by church organists throughout the world. We express our sympathy to his family members and know they will be comforted in the knowledge that his long and productive life has left behind a legacy which will continue to lift and bless those who love beautiful music.