Brigham Cecil Gates

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Brigham Cecil Gates
Brigham Cecil Gates was born in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii on August 16, 1887, the second of twelve children of Jacob F. and Susa Young Gates. Following early training in music from teachers at Brigham Young Academy, John H. McClellan and others in Salt Lake City, and the New England Conservatory of Music, he taught piano in St. George, Utah.

From 1907 to 1910 he fulfilled a mission in the Eastern States. He studied in the Scharwenka Conservatory of Music in Berlin from 1910 to 1913, graduating with high honors.

On June 30, 1917, he married Gweneth Gibbs in the Salt Lake Temple. Their children are Gweneth Mulder; Emma Lou – Mrs. Reed E. Ashton; B. Cecil Gates, Jr., who died at the age of eighteen; Helen – Mrs. Owen I. Gardiner; and Ruth – Mrs. B. Keith Duffin. He was a loving, patient father, modest despite noteworthy accomplishments, who never spoke ill of others.

From 1913 to 1925 he was head of the Music Department of the LDS University. During this period he began what later became the McCune School of Music, assembling an excellent faculty. The school gained national recognition for the high quality of its administration and teachings.

From 1916 to 1935 he was assistant director of the Tabernacle Choir. He also was a member of the General Board of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association from 1918 to 1929. With Emma Lucy Gates he organized the Lucy Gates Grand Opera Company of Salt Lake City and there conducted many of the world’s great operas. In 1926 he was appointed chairman of the Music Department at Utah State University. He also composed a significant number of choral and orchestral works, popular with people at all levels of musical background and ability. This inspired teacher and guiding light in music died in Salt Lake City on August 31, 1941.

The B. Cecil Gates Opera Workshop located in the Harris Fine Arts Center is used for the rehearsal and preparation of student productions of opera. It is also used as a large lecture classroom.

The Gates Opera Workshop is a rectangular room just off the de Jong Concert Hall stage. An oversized doorway permits transporting of large scene pieces back and forth from stage area to the workshop room. A capacious storage area is located in the west side of the room, and access to it from the tunnel is possible, permitting trucks and equipment to be moved in easily (Special Program, 8).


  • Special Program for Naming of Areas, Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Center. Tuesday, November 23, 1965 at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.
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