Richard Elliott Receives Prestigious Governor’s Mansion Artist Award
On June 15, 2022, Richard Elliott, principal Tabernacle organist, was one of several artists who received the 2022 Utah Governor’s Mansion Artist awards. “The arts can inspire us, uplift us, and help us reflect on the complexities of the human condition as well as our common humanity,” Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox said in a news release. “Utah is so lucky to have such a rich tradition of artistic talent among us and we are grateful to these artists for the joy and hope they contribute to our quality of life.”
“I’m deeply honored,” Elliott responded. “In The Tabernacle Choir organization, we feel that we stand on the shoulders of the many devoted musicians who came before us. We are fortunate to have the blessing of being able to use our musical gifts to bless the lives of others.”
Since 1997, Utah governors have recognized the finest in visual and performing arts throughout the state. Elliott isn’t the first musician from the Choir to be recognized. Previous artists and musicians affiliated with The Tabernacle Choir that were recipients of the Utah Governor’s Mansion Artist Awards include The Tabernacle Choir itself (2002), former Choir director and vocal coach Jerold and JoAnn Ottley (2003), current Choir director Mack Wilberg (2009), former director Craig Jessop (2014), former Choir member Alex Boyé, and the Choir’s costume designer Sue Allred (both in 2015).
Richard Elliott is one of five Tabernacle and Temple Square organists who regularly perform on Music & the Spoken Word broadcasts, worldwide general conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, the weekly stream of Piping Up! Organ Concerts at Temple Square, and the daily 30-minute organ recitals on Temple Square in the Tabernacle and Conference Center.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Elliott has been an organist for the Tabernacle Choir for more than 31 years, performing in many of the world’s great halls and appearing on numerous television and radio programs and recordings. He studied at the Peabody Institute and the Catholic University of America, received a bachelor’s degree in music from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and a master’s in music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He has collaborated with many guest artists, including Andrea Bocelli, the Canadian Brass, Kristin Chenoweth, Renée Fleming, Evelyn Glennie, the King’s Singers, the Muppets® from Sesame Street®, James Taylor, and Bryn Terfel. Elliott has concertized extensively as a soloist, with performances on five continents.
Prior to his appointment as a Tabernacle organist in 1991, Elliott was an assistant professor of organ at BYU. He and his wife, pianist Elizabeth Cox Ballantyne, are the parents of two sons.
To learn more about Richard Elliott, read his recent Deseret News interview here.