The organist staff consists of 4 full-time and 2 part-time organists. Click on a picture to learn more about each organist.
Principal Tabernacle Organist
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, and former student at the Peabody Conservatory and the Catholic University of America, Richard Elliott earned a bachelor of music degree from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
A former assistant organist for Philadelphia’s famed Wanamaker organ, he currently sits on the advisory boards for the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ and the Eccles Organ Festival at Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine. Prior to his appointment as Tabernacle organist in 1991, he was an assistant professor of organ at Brigham Young University. He and his wife, pianist Elizabeth Cox Ballantyne, are the parents of two sons.
Born in 1949, Dr. Clay Christiansen was appointed Tabernacle organist in 1982. He served for 10 years as organist and choirmaster at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, where he became well-known for his New Year’s Eve Bach recitals and weekly half-hour radio concerts. He also served as organist for five years at Utah’s only Jewish synagogue, Congregation Kol Ami.
In 1988 Christiansen completed a doctorate in composition at the University of Utah. He also holds a master of music degree from that institution, as well as a bachelor of music degree from Brigham Young University. Christiansen’s solo performances have taken him across the United States, Canada, and England. He has been a featured artist for groups such as the United States Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants, Canadian Brass, and Danish Radio Choir. His published organ compositions are included in the catalogues of several major U.S. music publishers. Compositions also include works for chorus, string quartet, woodwind trio, and chamber and symphony orchestra.
Dr. Christiansen and his wife, Diane, are the parents of 13 children and have over 50 grandchildren. They welcomed the birth of their first great-grandchild during the summer of 2013.
In 2016, Christiansen played the organ for the the Portland Choir & Orchestra performance of Maurice Durufle's Requiem, Op. 9. View the video below.
Andrew Unsworth, a Tabernacle organist since 2007, was raised in Potsdam, New York, in a family of musicians. He received a bachelor of music degree in organ performance and pedagogy from Brigham Young University and went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees in performance practice from Duke University.
He has served as music director at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Durham, North Carolina, organist and assistant director of music at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, and assistant professor of music history and organ at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He was a featured soloist at the Organ Historical Society and the American Guild of Organists in 2003. He and his wife, Alison, are the parents of five children.
Prior to his appointment as a Tabernacle organist in January 2018, Dr. Brian Mathias served as an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He also served as Associate organist at Country Club Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri.
Among Dr. Mathias's recent solo performances are recitals at the Salt Lake Tabernacle and the LDS Conference Center (Salt Lake City, Utah); the Cathedral of the Madeleine (Salt Lake City); Washington National Cathedral (Washington, D.C.); BYU-Idaho (Rexburg); and Texas A&M International University (Laredo, Texas). He has competed on the international stage in a number of prestigious international organ competitions, including the 2011 and 2014 Canadian International Organ Competitions and the 2010 Grand Prix de Chartres International Organ Competition.
Mathias earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Kansas, where he studied organ with James Higdon and carillon with Elizabeth Berghout. He received Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Brigham Young University, studying organ with Don Cook and Douglas Bush and carillon with Don Cook.
Temple Square Organist
A Temple Square organist since 1979, Bonnie Goodliffe has an extensive background in organ performance, music theory, and composition. She studied piano and organ at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Brigham Young University.
As one of the Tabernacle organists, she performs with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Temple Square Chorale, and Bells on Temple Square and joins with her fellow organists in presenting daily 30-minute organ recitals in the Tabernacle and Conference Center. In addition, she teaches music theory in the 16-week Choir training school conducted each year for new entrants to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Mrs. Goodliffe is a fellow of the American Guild of Organists and has held key positions in that organization, including regional education coordinator and member of the National Certification Committee. She has presented workshops at AGO conventions and has written several articles published in the Guild’s official magazine, The American Organist. She is a published composer and arranger and has served on the Music Committee for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Bonnie Goodliffe and her husband, Glade, are the parents of seven children.
Temple Square Organist
Linda Margetts has been a Temple Square organist since 1984 and brings an impressive list of accomplishments to her role as Tabernacle organist. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organ performance from Brigham Young University and her PhD in music composition from the University of Utah. She has presented recitals throughout the United States and Canada as well as in such international venues as Vienna and Jerusalem.
As a Tabernacle organist, she performs with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Temple Square Chorale, and Bells on Temple Square and, along with her fellow organists, presents daily 30-minute organ recitals in the Tabernacle and Conference Center. She also teaches music theory in the 16-week Choir training school.
Dr. Margetts has been a member of the music faculty at Utah State University and is currently an organ instructor at the University of Utah. She has lectured at the Church Music Workshop at Brigham Young University and has held a number of key committee assignments as a fellow of the American Guild of Organists.
Linda Margetts and her husband, Bert, are the parents of six children.