About the Conductors
Dr. Mack Wilberg, Music Director
As the main artistic force behind the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Dr. Mack Wilberg is responsible for all musical and creative aspects of the Choir and Orchestra. He was appointed music director on March 28, 2008, after serving as associate music director of the Choir since May 1999.
A coal miner’s son from the small mining community of Castle Dale, Utah, Mr. Wilberg learned to play the piano by ear at the age of four. So intense became his passion for the instrument that in an effort to restore balance in her son’s life, his mother would force him outside to play. He would go outside to appease her, but then simply go to his neighbors’ homes, where he’d ask to play their piano. By the age of 10, Mack was accompanying the congregation at his local church.
Mr. Wilberg received a bachelor’s degree in piano and composition from Brigham Young University, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California. He is a former university music professor and director of choral music and a former member of the American Piano Quartet.
Mr. Wilberg’s compositions and arrangements are published exclusively by Oxford University Press and have been performed and recorded by musical ensembles throughout the world, including at the World War II Memorial Dedication and the funerals of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.
Dr. Ryan Murphy, Associate Music Director
As associate music director, a role he has held since 2009, Dr. Ryan Murphy’s main role is to assist Dr. Wilberg in the creative direction of the Choir. Hailing from Newtown, Connecticut, Murphy started playing the piano at the age of five with his father, who had been too poor as a kid for lessons. Murphy joined the Episcopal Boy Choir in fourth grade and spent his childhood performing at both the Episcopal and Mormon churches in his community. By age 11, he soloed in Messiah.
Murphy has a master’s degree in choral conducting from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in choral conducting from Boston University. Prior to his appointment with the Choir, he conducted six choirs in the Boston area, including two choirs at the prestigious New England Conservatory Preparatory School. He served for four years as the choral director at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, an internationally recognized secondary school affiliated with the New England Conservatory of Music. He was the music director of the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in St. George, Utah, from 2005 to 2007 following five seasons as music director at the Sundance Institute in Provo, Utah. While in Boston, he maintained an active performing schedule, including collaborations at the Tanglewood Summer Festival.