BYU-I premiering new musical work this month

Brigham Young University-Idaho will premiere a new musical work later this month in three cities, including Rexburg.

Performances are scheduled June 25 at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, June 28 in Salt Lake City and wrap up in Rexburg at 7:30 p.m. July 12 at the BYU-Idaho Center.

The oratorio, a long dramatic musical composition, is called “How Beautiful Upon the Mountains.” It was written by Mormon composer Daniel E. Gawthrop. The work is No. 12 in the university’s biennial “Sacred Music Series,” in which BYU-Idaho commissions, performs and records new Mormon religious music.

This latest work will be performed by about 200 student performers from the university’s Symphony Orchestra, Men’s and Women’s choirs and Collegiate Singers.

“There’s a lot of great music out there and a lot of great sacred music, but this is the way the university wanted to support new works,” spokesman Don Sparhawk said. “It’s been very successful over the years. It’s part of our students’ educational experience. There’s an excitement about presenting something that’s new, maybe a topic that hasn’t been addressed and allowing composers of our time to write a major composition like this.”

The composition can be described as traditional, Sparhawk said, with lyrics primarily from scripture, including the Old Testament, New Testament and Book of Mormon. Gawthrop’s wife, Jane Griner, adapted the scripture into lyrics.

“Because of it’s sacred nature, it appeals to those who find comfort and have interest in sacred things,” Sparhawk said. “I think the main goal of this is an educational experience for our students, and secondly, to contribute to new musical works of a sacred nature.”

Performances are free, but require tickets, as seating is limited. Tickets for the Rexburg and Twin Falls performances can be obtained at the BYU-Idaho ticket office. For information, visit or call 496-3170. For information about the Salt Lake City performance, call (866) 537-8457 or visit