Mormon Arts Center

On This Day...

A DAILY FACTOID OF OUR ART HISTORY

Nov. 24

The film, The Work and the Glory, premiered on this day (2004). Gerald N. Lund's nine-part novel series (1990-1998) was one of the most successful historical novels ever published by a religious publisher. The books shadow the history of the early Church with a fictional family, the Steeds. Lund, who also served as a General Authority of the Church, also wrote other historical, multi-volume fiction series: The Kingdom and the Crown, The Guardian, Fire and Steel, and San Juan Pioneers.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 23

Isaiah, by Stephen Anderson was recorded on this day (2013) in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The 49-minute, seven movement oratorio, that had been premiered two days before, was commissioned by Mormon Artists Group.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 22

Heber J. Grant, prophet and art patron, was born on this day (1856). While serving as the president of the European Mission, he gave Mahonri Young $100 out of his pocket and arranged to get more, in order to have Mahonri's sculpture cast in bronze. Grant encouraged Utah artists and repeatedly came to Young's aid.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 21

Movie-goers were divided into "Team Edward" and "Team Jacob" on this day (2008) as Stephenie Meyer's best selling Twilight series hit the screens. The first book was published October 5, 2005, and the series of books and films became a once-in-a-generation commercial success.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 20

In defiance of Governor Shaffer's ban on the Nauvoo Legion in Utah, over 200 men gather on this day (1870). The Legion's band performs, and later, eight men including photographer Charles Roscoe Savage, are arrested and jailed at Camp Douglas. This musical/political action became known as the "Wooden Gun Rebellion."

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 19

Student composer Daniel Lee Ferguson's work for flute, viola, and harp, Seven Scenes of Claude Monet, premiered on this day (1976) at Brigham Young University. Student recitals have been the occasion for thousands of new works. The university has posted decades' of these performance programs on archive.org

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 18

Green Tree, composed by Stephen Jones, was premiered on this day (2005) by the Brigham Young University Philharmonic, Kory Katseanes, conductor. It was one of multiple BYU commissions and premieres in honor of the bicentennial of the birth of Joseph Smith, Jr.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 17

Joseph Paul Vorst was informed on this day (1937) that his painting, Drifters on the Mississippi had won the top prize at the Art Institute of Chicago. This launched a career of the American Regionalist/Social Realist.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 16

The Open Curtain: An opera on the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, Jr. was premiered on this day (1998) by the Seattle Experimental Opera. Libretto by Brian Evenson and music by Christian Asplund.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 15

Universal Film Manufacturing Company (later Universal Pictures) was founded on this day (1926). Charles O. Baumann, one of its founders released the first sympathetic view of Mormons in The Romance of the Utah Pioneers (1913), an even more unusual fact given the anti-Mormon environment of the day and the fact that Jewish New Yorker Baumann was unaffiliated with the Church.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 14

The 20th Century Fox Animation film Anastasia premiered on this day (1997), directed by Donald Bluth. The animator, film director, writer and producer is best known for his director of The Secret of NIMH (1982), An American Tail (1986), The Land Before Time (1988), and All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989). His films received critical acclaim and were some of the highest-grossing animated films by a non-Disney company.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 13

One of the great folk musicians of the era, Charles Lowell Walker arrived in St. George, Utah on this day (1862) and wrote, "St. George is a barren looking placeā€¦To look on the country it is a dry, parched, barren waste and here and there a green spot on the margins of the streams. Very windy, dusty, blowing nearly all the time. The water is not good and far from being palatable. And this is the country we have to live in and make it blossom as the Rose."

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 12

Several of composer Robert Manookin's works appeared in the 1985 edition of the LDS hymnal, including "Thy Will, O Lord, Be Done" and "See the Mighty Priesthood Gathered. He studied under Mormon composers and organists such as Frank Asper, Alexander Schreiner, B. Cecil Gates and J. Spencer Cornwall, and was a professor of music composition and theory at BYU. He died on this day (1997).

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 11

A pioneer of world music was born on this day (1938). Lloyd Miller merged his interests in Jazz, Persian and Afghan music, and musicology into some of the most inventive jazz music of his era. Oriental Jazz, from the mid-1960s is a landmark connoissuer's album.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 10

As of this day (2018) the film Jane and Emma, which tells the story of the friendship between Emma Smith and an African American convert named Jane Manning has earned $84,512 its opening weekend (Oct. 21) and a cummulative total of $184,795.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 9

As of this day (2018), Tara Westover's memoir, Educated, has spent 37 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The chronicle of Westover's upbringing in an LDS survivalist home in Idaho and her escape through education at BYU and then earning at a PhD from Cambridge is being translated into 23 languages.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 8

La Monte Young composed "Piano Piece for Terry Riley #1" on this day (1960). The grandfather of Minimalism and early Fluxus artist, Young's conceptual piece for Riley instructed a performer to push a piano against a wall and continue pushing. "If the piano goes through the wall," the written directions indicate that the perform should continue pushing until exhaustion takes over.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 7

Hiram B. Clawson, born on this day (1826), was best known for his business skills and friendship with Brigham Young. One of his ventures was in the management and building of the Salt Lake Theatre, and he was often a performer in its plays.

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Glen Nelson
Nov. 5

As of this day (2018) there are LDS performers in five musicals currently on Broadway: Hamilton, Mean Girls, Anatasia, Frozen, and Beautiful. Here is a photo of Jeff Pew getting ready to go on in the role of Oaken, in Frozen. Photo courtesy of Douglas Pew.

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Glen Nelson