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The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Piping Up! Honors Famed Tabernacle Organist: Alexander Schreiner

The Piping Up! Organ Concerts at Temple Square—the newest Temple Square organ tradition—in its July 28th weekly concert stream will honor famed organist Alexander Schreiner (1901-1987) who served as a Tabernacle organist for over 50 years from 1924-1977.

Talented emeritus Tabernacle organists John Longhurst and Clay Christiansen—both former students of Schreiner--will each perform music repertoire highlighting Schreiner’s career in organ and hymn compositions and arrangements. 

Date:

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Time:

12:00 Noon (Mountain)

Where:

The concert will be streamed on The Tabernacle Choir’s YouTube, Facebook, Website, and also Broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Program:

The concert program with music repertoire can be found here. 

On Demand:

The concert will be available for on demand viewing after the concert is streamed from here.

Alexander Schreiner was one of the most well known organists of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. He was listed seven times during his career among the nation’s top radio artists in Musical America radio polls and was in demand for concert performances throughout this country and internationally. Audiences marveled at his playing, his skill at improvisation, the facility of his technique, and his complete artistry.

Schreiner played on the third-ever broadcast of The Tabernacle Choir’s Music & the Spoken Word in 1929 and continued in rotation with his fellow Tabernacle organists until he retired in 1977. He participated in performing in the daily organ recitals on Temple Suare. In addition, he produced a weekly radio show on the Tabernacle organ from the 1940s to the early ‘70s.

Born in Nuremberg, Germany on July 31, 1901, young Alexander was performing on the organ in public by age 5, and by 7 began playing for his family's congregation at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nuremberg. After his family relocated to Salt Lake City in 1912, he did the same for his Church congregation in Salt Lake City, and also for the German-Swiss branch. At 13, he began studies with senior Tabernacle organist John J. McClellan. At age 20, he was invited to play a series of Tabernacle recitals the summer before he went on his mission. Only a few weeks after returning he was appointed as a Tabernacle organist at the age of 23. 

When Schreiner died, in 1987 at age 86, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement: “He contributed to the Church through thousands of organ recitals and several decades of performing with [The] Tabernacle Choir. His artistry was widely recognized in music circles and his compositions for the organ are used by Church organists throughout the world.... His long and productive life has left behind a legacy which will continue to lift and bless those who love beautiful music.” 

Many hymns and songs frequently sung in Latter-day Saint congregations around the world were contributed by Schreiner: “While of Theses Emblems We Partake,” “God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son,” “Lead Me into Life Eternal,” “We Bow Our Heads,” and “I Think the World Is Glorious.”

Alexander Schreiner’s legacy lives on, not just in the music he wrote, transcribed, or arranged, or even in the recordings he left us. It lives on in the magnificent Tabernacle organ, in the noble traditions he instituted and reinforced in the Tabernacle, and in the Tabernacle organists that followed after him. His offering of wholehearted service and devotion, through music, to his faith and his God is his most enduring legacy.

Enjoy The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performing Alexander Schreiner’s “I Think the World Is Glorious.”