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Marlin K. Jensen Scholar & Artist in Residence

Marlin JensenMarlin Keith Jensen was a general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as the official Church Historian and Recorder from 2005 to 2012. During his tenure, Jensen worked to professionalize the Church’s History Department, give it international range, make its holdings more accessible to researchers, and publish primary materials. Jensen was made an emeritus general authority in 2012. Currently, he practices law in Salt Lake City and is a member of the Utah State Board of Regents. 

“I have known Marlin Jensen,” says Former Tanner Humanities Center Director Bob Goldberg, “for more than a decade. He brings to every situation a deep integrity, wisdom, and desire to repair the world. He inspires trust and the sense that people of good will can accomplish anything that inspires them. With his gracious consent, we ask you to join us in honoring his significant and enduring impact on our community.”   

2020 is the last year that we will host an Artist in Residence.
You can view our past Residence below.

S. Andrew Lloyd



The Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah is thrilled to have composer S. Andrew Lloyd as our 2019-20 Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence. He comes to us from the University of Texas at San Antonio where he is the Bess Hieronymus Endowed Fellow and Assistant Professor of Organ and Composition.

In the spirit of Marlin K. Jensen and the Mormon Studies Initiative at the University of Utah, S. Andrew Lloyd’s residency will engage the greater community with 7 lectures by Mormon composers from across the country, as well as two public concerts, at the Cathedral of the Madeleine and Libby Gardner Recital Hall, featuring collaborations between S. Andrew Lloyd and the BYU Singers, BYU Concert Choir, and Cantorum Chamber Choir, including the world premiere of Lloyd’s latest choral work, Khristos II: Et ecce vox.

In the vision of this residency, the guest lecturers and composers will discuss their music and how it unifies and influences their communities, breaks down barriers, and opens doors. While their music doesn’t necessarily have a home liturgically within the Mormon Church, many of these composers find a voice within other cultural, stylistic, and religious communities and influences.

Andrew Lloyd, whose music has been described as “monumental, hair-raising, and leaving you agape in awe” (Classical Music Sentinel), has had music performed all over the world including the Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris, the National Cathedral in Washington DC, Riverside Church New York, Trinity Church Boston, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Moscow Catholic Cathedral, and venues in South Africa, and the Philippines.

A recording of Lloyd’s monumental art mass, Christus was released in 2017 on the Neumark label, and featured on Pipedreams public radio in December of 2018. More information about S. Andrew Lloyd and his music can be found at sandrewlloyd.comChristus YouTube Video


January 28, 2020
Libby Gardner Hall, University of Utah

A concert featuring S. Andrew Lloyd, conductor Steve Durtschi and the Cantorum Chamber Choir including the world premiere of S. Andrew Lloyd’s Khristos II: Et ecce vox.

March 31, 2020
Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City, UT

A Concert featuring Andrew Crane and the BYU Singers, Rosalind Hall and the BYU Concert Choir, as well as music by S. Andrew Lloyd.


With special gratitude to Dr. Miguel Chuaqui and the University of Utah School of Music, all lectures will be held on the dates listed below at Dumke Recital Hall in the School of Music at 12:00pm. Lectures are free and open to students, faculty, and the community at large.

October 4, 2019
S. Andrew Lloyd
University of Texas at San Antonio

Topic: A look at S. Andrew Lloyd’s monumental art mass, Christus: a melding of multiple faith traditions and communities.

October 18, 2019

Lisa DeSpain
City University New York
2018 OPERA America Discovery Grant Winner
2018 Barlow Endowment Commission
2019 Utah Opera Golden Spike Commission for No Ladies in the Lady’s Book

Topic: That Hell-Bound Train– a sneak peak at Lisa’s jazz/blues opera and her creative life as a working  composer in NYC, (No “deal-with-devil” necessary). Also featuring live performances by Utah Opera Resident Artists.

November 8, 2019
Ethan Wickman
“A composer of facility and imagination, the kind to whom performers and audiences respond” –The New York Times
Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at the University of Texas at San Antonio
Executive Director of the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University

Topic: Ballads of the Borderland

November 22, 2019
Stephen Anderson
University of North Carolina
16 recordings through Summit, Albany, Nagel Heyer Records, and other labels
Five of Anderson’s recordings have appeared on the Grammy Awards ballots including Nation Degeneration, Believe, 360ºJazz Initiative, Distracted Society, andThe Dominican Jazz Project

Topic: Featuring live performances as well as a discussion on Anderson’s work as a classical composer and jazz pianist, which in recent years has drawn inspiration from and taken him to the Caribbean and Central and South America.

February 21, 2020
Benjamin Sabey
San Francisco State University
Sabey’s compositions have been performed by notable ensembles all over the world including the Arditti Quartet, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, and the New York New Music Ensemble among others.

Topic: A look at three recent works: Wine Dark Seafor piano and electronics, Suspend Alightfor string quartet, and/or Rare Bird, a quintet for traditional Korean instruments.

February 28, 2020
Todd Coleman
Elon University
“Masterly orchestral craftsmanship… a feel for odd, refreshing sonorities, and expressive speech…” –John van Rhein, Chicago Tribune

Topic: Exquisite Corpse – Music, Multimedia, Meditation, and Meaning

March 27, 2020
Neil Thornock
Brigham Young University
Thornock has three recordings including Cosmology, which was recently released on the Albany label.
His music has been performed all over the world including venues at Automatronic, NASA, and SEAMUS.

Topic: Apotheosis

Ian Barber



The Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah has selected Ian Barber as the 2018-19 Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence. Barber comes to campus from his position as Associate Professor at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

“From the fields of anthropology, archeology, and history, Professor Ian Barber brings a fresh interdisciplinary approach to our Mormon Studies Initiative,” said Bob Goldberg, director of the Tanner Humanities Center.  “Specifically, he asks, ‘how do sacred histories change over time and space?’  His response looks not only to Latter-day Saints in the United States, but also to the experiences of global Mormon communities.  Professor Barber’s cross-cultural perspective promises new insights about changing practices, beliefs, and identities in the Mormon world from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.”

During his fellowship, Barber will teach a special topics course for the Department of History, titled “Mormons and the Past.” This class will be offered during Fall 2018 and explore a fundamental question: how have Mormon communities lived with and in their past? The course will consider perspectives from cultural anthropology, archaeology, and history, covering difficult topics such as religious violence as well as changing practices with regard to identity, science, and sexualities. 

Dr. Barber is a former Fulbright scholar who has published widely in anthropology, history, and archaeology. By training, he is both an archaeologist and cultural anthropologist. His specializations include New Zealand and Oceania, as well as North American cultural heritage. He studied at Brigham Young University in 2011 as a Fulbright Senior Scholar, focusing on LDS communities in the US and Polynesia. His work at BYU produced two publications and is the basis for his upcoming book and associated course, Mormons in the Past.

Kimberly Johnson



The Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah selected Kimberly Johnson as the 2017-2018 Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence fellow. Johnson, U alumna and professor and associate chair of English at BYU,  is the recipient of numerous awards including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Utah Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her latest book of poetry, “Uncommon Prayer,” was published in 2014.

Johnson’s fellowship will be a semester-long residency at the Tanner Humanities Center beginning in spring 2018. She will lead a semester-length poetry course for U students and lifelong learners featuring a series of guest poets and public readings. She will also contribute to Mormon Studies curriculum planning and program development. 

“As a scholar and poet, Kim brings new perspectives to our Mormon Studies Initiative at the U,” said Bob Goldberg, Tanner Center director. “Her unique ability to provide deep context to Mormon poetry will enable students to expand their understanding of the faith and explore how devotion is expressed. Students of all religions will gain much from this stimulating and thoughtful master teacher.” 

Her course, Poetry and Theology, will guide students through the historical religious, political and social tensions that have influenced the development of devotional poetry over the last three millennia. Students will explore how contemporary Mormon writers navigate the boundaries between the secular American literary tradition and the interests and lexicon of their faith community.

Johnson teaches courses in creative writing and Renaissance literature at Brigham Young University. In both fields, her primary interest lies in lyric poetry. In critical work on the 16th and 17th century lyric, she has explored issues of form, aesthetics, religion and gender, and the intersection of these concerns in the literature’s cultural context. Her own poetry negotiates many of these same ideas as it confronts the limits of representation. She tries to impress upon her students the urgency of being accurate and specific, both as writers and as critics. Her current projects include a translation of Giacomo da Lentini’s sonnets, a scholarly examination of lyric poetics and a fourth collection of poetry.

Brian Birch



The Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at U of U has named its first fellow in the Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence Program as part of the Mormon Studies initiative. University of Utah alumnus Brian Birch is a professor of philosophy, director of the religious studies program and director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University. His fellowship will consist of a semester-long residency at the Tanner Humanities Center beginning fall 2016. 

“From a very strong field of candidates, Brian emerged to garner the strong support of our selection committee,” said Tanner Center Director Bob Goldberg. “Brian is a natural for this honor. He is an accomplished scholar-teacher who creates an innovative classroom experience that insures robust analysis while respecting the beliefs of his students. At the heart of Mormon Studies, Brian Birch truly emulates the values of Marlin Jensen.”

Birch will serve as a research mentor for students, host public lectures, teach a class for U students and lifelong learners and contribute to Mormon Studies curriculum planning and program development. His course titled The Intellectual Life of Mormonism: Reason, Faith, & Science Among the Latter-day Saints will be offered in the fall at the U and will include a public companion lecture series featuring prominent Mormon Studies scholars who bring their expertise to different areas of the curriculum.

“It is a privilege to be selected for a fellowship named in honor of Elder Jensen and it is especially exciting to be part of an effort being developed at my alma mater,” Birch commented.

Brian D. Birch is director of the Religious Studies Program and director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University. He specializes in the philosophy of religion, ethics, religious pluralism and the interdisciplinary study of Mormonism. He is the founding editor of “Teaching Ethics and Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology.” He currently serves on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Birch is completing his current book project entitled “Mormonism Among Christian Theologies” (with Grant Underwood) for Oxford University Press and has begun work on a new project entitled The Intellectual Life of Mormonism: Reason, Faith, and Science Among the Latter-day Saints. 


STEVEN PETERSEN | Petersen Advantage, LLC
BRIAN CANNON  | Brigham Young University
FIONA GIVENS | University of Richmond
BOB GOLDBERG | University of Utah
SALLY GORDON | University of Pennsylvania

MATT GROW | LDS Church History Department
LARRY LUNT | Retired Brigadier General
STEVEN PETERSEN | Petersen Advantage, LLC


Last Updated: 6/11/21