Cundick was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1926. He spent his childhood in Sandy, Utah. His parents were both faithful and devoted members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the standards of the Church were a major influence on Cundick’s life. His interest in music began early in his life as he played in bands and orchestras, as well as served as the organist for the weekly church services.
After serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II, Cundick immediately enrolled at the University of Utah. Despite the fact that his service in the Merchant Marines was not covered by the G.I. Bill of Rights, Cundick worked hard to pay for his education, and received his BFA, MFA and eventual PhD in Music Composition from the university. He was privileged to study under the tutelage of internationally recognized composer Leroy J. Robertson.
Cundick also minored in philosophy. He reports that while this experience posed a challenge to his testimony, he found strength and reassurance in the friendships of Lowell Bennion and Hugh Nibley, and his faith emerged from this challenge even more certain.
It was during his time as a university student that Cundick married his wife, Charlotte (Cholly) Clark. Clark was an organ student of Cundick’s. The couple made their home in Salt Lake City, where Cundick was able to continue his university studies.
Cundick joined the music faculty at BYU in 1957. It was at this time that Cundick became a member of the Sunday School General Board, another experience that formed an overpowering counter-balance to his experience with the University of Utah philosophy professors.
In 1962, President David O. McKay called Cundick to go to London, England, with his family, to serve as the organist at the new Hyde Park Chapel. While in England, Cundick appeared in concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral and King’s College, Cambridge, in addition to his daily recitals at Hyde Park Chapel and a BBC broadcast.
After completing this two year mission, Cundick and his family returned to Provo, Utah, where he resumed his teaching and compositional activity at BYU. This was interrupted when Cundick was called to serve as an organist at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. He served faithfully for twenty-seven years, during which time he had many faith promoting experiences with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other musical activities.
Following his retirement in 1991, Cundick and his wife were called to serve as Directors of Hosting at the BYU Center in Jerusalem, Israel.
Cundick continues to devote much of his time to composition and other music related activities, always making time to serve those around him. In 2007 he released a CD, The Past Returns, containing his compositions from over 50 years. In 2014, he released a second album entitled The Gospel Restored, which testifies of the Restoration of the Church.
Cundick passed away on January 7, 2016.
- Mormon Scholars Testify: Robert Cundick
- Creation of a Masterpiece, by Robb Cundick
- Robert Cundick Obituary
- LDS Church News - "Robert Cundick honored for 50 years of service as Tabernacle organist" (22 May 2015)
- BYU Magazine - Encyclopedia of Musical Alumni (28 December 2007)
- The Deseret News - The Past Returns via CD (4 Feb 2007)
- Tabernacle organist was key member of LDS music team
- Renowned Mormon composer, Tabernacle organist Cundick dies