About the Work
In March 2001, Joseph Smith the Prophet premiered at the Tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Composer Rob Gardner was then a student at Brigham Young University and organized the first concert with the help of a remarkably talented group of volunteer performers. The response was astounding. The audience filled the venue beyond capacity, forcing many to listen from the lawn outside. In the months and years following, thousands more in Arizona, Utah and Idaho marveled at the presentation and wards, stakes, institutes and universities organized their own performances around the world.
“The idea for the piece came after I took a class from Jeffrey Marsh at BYU on the life and teachings of Joseph Smith.” Rob explains. “After participating in this incredible class, I wanted to be able to share what I’d learned and felt with others using my own talents just as Brother Marsh had.”
Undeniably, the power of Joseph Smith the Prophet is in the witness it bears: that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he did indeed see what he said he saw; that “he lived great and he died great….”
Shortly after the first performance in 2001, the same group went to the recording studio to make the original recording of the piece. Copies of this recording quickly spread around the world. And though thousands began to enjoy the music on recording, the unique opportunity of experiencing the piece live in concert was onlyl logistically available to those in the Mountain West United States.
Then, in October 2007, Spire Music brought together another group of talent at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City to perform Joseph Smith the Prophet. This time the group included the 150-voice Spire Chorus, a full symphony orchestra and a remarkable list of soloists including Jeffry Walker, Suzanne Disparte, Jordan Bluth, Michael Sackett, Daniel Beck, Angela Brower and Sharon Hopkins. This spectacular performance was captured on video so that audiences, regardless of where they live, might experience the presentation for themselves. Stunning footage of the historic locations spoken of in the piece was also included to enhance the presentation.
In June 2008, BYU-TV began airing this new live version of Joseph Smith the Prophet. Now audiences around the world can enjoy the power of this remarkable piece.