Bryn Terfel’s Connection to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Runs Deep
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has embraced Welsh bass-baritone, Bryn Terfel. He and the Choir have performed together numerous times and have collaborated on two albums, Requiem and Homeward Bound, which feature American and Welsh folk songs, classical music, and spirituals. The 6 foot 4 opera and concert singer has mentioned that he wants to invite the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Britain to sing at Royal Albert Hall, saying, “They sing in stadiums to 20,000 people, but they haven’t travelled across the Atlantic for many years now.”
Born Bryn Terfel Jones on November 9, 1965, he decided to use Bryn Terfel as his professional name because he knew of another Welsh baritone named Bryn Jones. His interest in music began early when a family friend taught him to sing traditional Welsh songs. He moved to London in 1984 after winning several singing competitions and attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
By 1990, he made his operatic debut at the Welsh National Opera as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte. By 1998, he had performed at the Royal Opera House, Vienna State Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Carnegie Hall. In the midst of his success he signed an exclusive recording contract with Dueutsche Grammophon, where he has recorded many styles of music, including opera, religious, and Broadway music. Terfel is the recipient of many awards including Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the Queen’s Medal for Music, and a GRAMMY Award for the Metropolitan Opera’s recording of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen.
Many of members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir share their Welsh heritage with Terfel. "I can see it in their eyes," Terfel said of their connection to Wales. The first organization of the Choir included 85 Welsh immigrants who had recently arrived in the United States. In the video below, Terfel and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform, “What a Wonderful World,” which was first recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1967.