Leroy J. Robertson

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Leroy J. Robertson, c. 1940s
Leroy Jasper Robertson (December 21, 1896-July 25, 1971) was born in Fountain Green, Utah. His love of music was manifest early in his childhood. Robertson studied under Anthony C. Lund and graduated from Brigham Young High School in 1916, already a well-known violinist. He then enrolled at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

When Robertson returned from Boston he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in Music from Brigham Young University in 1932 and his PhD from the University of Southern California in 1954. He taught Music at BYU from September, 1925 through June, 1948. During that time he was also the Director of the School of Music from 1935-36 and from 1946-47. In 1948 he became the chairman of the Music Department at the University of Utah, a position he filled until 1952.

"Leroy Robertson" by Alvin Gittens (1922-1981)

Throughout his career Dr. Robertson wrote multiple compositions for orchestral, choral, and piano performances. Along with these he also wrote the words for one LDS hymn and composed the music for eight others. "On This Day of Joy and Gladness," which is included in the 1985 edition of the LDS hymnal, has both words and music by Robertson.

Dr. Robertson is best known for his Oratorio from the Book of Mormon, which he wrote in 1953. The setting of The Lord's Prayer from that Oratorio was recorded by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and was released as a 45 single.

In 2007 BYU was given a portrait of Leroy Robertson made by Alvin Gittens, BYU alumnus and U of U faculty member. In this portrait, the unfinished hands serve as an unintended metaphor for Robertson's unfinished work at BYU, when, at the height of his career, he accepted the invitation to become chair of the University of Utah Music Department.

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