About Dr. Craig Jessop
Dr. Craig Jessop is Professor of Music and the founding Dean for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, in addition to having served as the music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He is the founder and Music Director of the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra and has served as the music director of the Carnegie Hall National High School Choral Festival. Prior to his appointment with the Tabernacle Choir, Dr. Jessop was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force music programs, where he served as director of the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants in Washington, D.C. (1980-1987); as commander and conductor of the Band of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein, Germany (1987-1991); and as commander and conductor of the Air Combat Command Heartland of America Band (1991-1995). He has also been music director of the Maryland Choral Society, the Rhineland-Pfalz International Choir of Germany and the Omaha Symphonic Chorus.
Dr. Jessop has a Bachelor of Science from Utah State University, 1973; Master of Arts from Brigham Young University, 1976; and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from Stanford University, 1980.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Utah, Dr. Jessop received the 2014 Governor’s Mansion Performing Artist Award bestowed by Governor Gary Herbert, Governor of the State of Utah. In 2013 he received the prestigious Madeleine Award for distinguished service to the Arts and Humanities by the Madeleine Arts and Humanities Council and in 2012 he was awarded the Utah National Guard’s Minuteman Award for service to the State of Utah.
Under his direction, the Tabernacle Choir received numerous awards, including the coveted National Medal of Arts in a ceremony at the White House. He has recorded over 15 CDs on the Telarc and MTC labels with the Choir and in 2008 received a Grammy nomination for his work with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
In addition to his work as a conductor, Dr. Jessop has been active as a baritone vocalist, first as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and later with the choirs of Helmuth Rilling and John Rutter and with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers. He is a previous winner of the Metropolitan Opera regional auditions and San Francisco Opera auditions, and has participated in the Merola Opera training program of the San Francisco Opera.
He lives in the peaceful setting of the northern Utah valley of Cache County with his wife RaNae. They are the parents of four children and have seven wonderful grandsons.
Dean Jessop’s Sunrise Session presentation will introduce Utah State University’s Year of the Arts to the Salt Lake Community. From the 50th Anniversary of both the Lyric Repertoire Company and the Chase Fine Arts to the grand opening of the newly remodeled Daines Concert Hall, the presentation will focus on the role of the arts in education and society, major events planned for the Year of the Arts celebration, and the role of the arts as an important part of Cache Valley’s economy.