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Madsen, Franklin, 1887-1971



  • Existence: 1887 - 1971

Biographical History

Franklin Madsen (1887-1971) was a Brigham Young University professor of music, and member of LDS General Relief Society Board

Dr. Hans Franklin Madsen, choir conductor and musical historian, came from a talented Scandinavian immigrant family. he was born in Provo, Utah, September 28, 1887, a son of Hans and Maria J. (Sorenson) Madsen. During his early youth he lived also in Salem, Idaho and Lehi, Utah.

At the age of fifteen, Franklin was given the major responsibilities of providing sustenance for his mother and four other children after his father's death. He found employment at the Lehi Sugar Mills, in the chemical Laboratory and the warehouse. Always interested and talented in music, he gave service to the community with his fine baritone voice. He played the violin, clarinet, trombone and participated in the Lehi Band. He took part in the Dramatic Company productions and loved to dance, winning several prizes for waltzing.

Although he was unable to attend school regularly, he graduated from Lehi Public School in 1904. He was eager to achieve in English, grammar, and spelling, and took a correspondence course in these subjects, along with courses in typing and stenography.

In 1906, after his family moved to Salt Lake City, Franklin worked for the United Grocery Store. At this time he joined the Tabernacle Choir under the direction of Professor Evan Stephens. A select number of the choir went on a tour of Eastern cities that included the White House, where he met President Taft.

In 1912, he accepted a mission call to Denmark. After serving in Copenhagen for a short time, he was transferred to Bergen, Norway, the home of Edvard Grieg, and a fine musical center. He was assigned to conduct the church choir, which under his direction, achieved wide recognition. It was said that the chorus drew as many people into the church as the other missionary activities together. Since the music available was Catholic or Lutheran, Franklin composed music for the choir which was keyed especially to LDS philosophies. he is credited with the conversion of many saints including Olaf K. Karlson, who became the head of the branch of the church in Bergen.

Recognizing the wealth of material to be learned in Bergin, Franklin applied for permission to study music. This was granted and he studied conducting, composition, harmony, piano, voice and clarinet under leading musicians.

After returning to Salt Lake, he rejoined the Tabernacle Choir and continued his studies in music. Upon the recommendation of a friend, he traveled to Provo to study voice under Florence Jepperson, who was visiting for the summer. She encouraged him to enroll at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he specialized in Public School Music.

In 1915-1916, he was supervisor in music in Jordan District and taught music at Jordan High School in Utah. The following year he started teaching in Springville, Utah, but before the year was up he was drafted in World War I. His experience in chemistry led to France in the early spring of 1917. At the hospital center, he organized an orchestra and chorus as well as working with the patients who were wounded.

He returned in the fall of 1919 and during that school year. was granted a satisfactory release from teaching at Magna, Utah, in order to join the faculty of BYU (on Florence's recommendation) as instructor of theoretical subjects. That fall he was appointed as director of the BYU orchestra as well as working with choirs and teaching theoretical subjects.

At BYU romance between Franklin and Florence Jepperson grew and culminated in their marriage on August 30, 1922. They bought a home in Provo and raised 3 orphaned girls who were adopted by Florence just prior to her marriage to Franklin.

In the spring of 1923, Franklin went to Europe to study. Eventually his education culminated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts, the Graduation Diploma, Teachers' Certificates in Voice and Music, the Degrees of Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Music, Doctor of Music, Master of Music Education, the last seven from the Chicago Musical College, and Master of Arts from BYU. He also held certification from the New England Conservatory, the Royal College of Music, London, England, as well as his private studies in London, Paris, Rome and Berlinear He also received an Honorary Doctor of Music Education for the Boguslawski College of Music of Chicago and an Honorary Doctor of Music from the Chicago College of Music.

For 16 summers he taught at the Master Summer School of Chicago Musical College and he taught at BYU for over 37 years. In 1952 he and Florence were made emeritus professors of BYU. A composer of vocal, instrumental and orchestral music, he also organized and conducted the Utah County Symphony Orchestra. At the request of the First Presidency of the Church, he and his wife spent a year in California teaching conducting and accompanying musical groups. His name is linked with the Messiah for his masterful interpretation and direction of it.

Florence often expressed to the Singing Mothers her appreciation for the assistance of her husband. She would not have been able to give the service to her church singing groups without his cooperation. He always encouraged her, and took her to rehearsals and meetings stretching over a thousand mile radius. He was a devoted husband, a gentleman, a philosopher, a scholar, a theologian, a staunch missionary of the church, a considerate, gracious and helpful leader of men and women, ever mindful of the welfare and comfort of others.

On October 2, 1971, at age of 84, H. Franklin Madsen died of natural causes in a Provo rest home.

Found in 18 Collections and/or Records:

Franklin Madsen papers, 1887-1971

Identifier: UA 571 Series 1
Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence, biographical materials, memorabilia, music, and other materials produced by Madsen. Materials date from between 1887 and 1971.

Dates: 1887-1971

Franklin and Florence Jepperson Madsen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 571
Scope and Contents

Contains personal correspondence, articles, programs, news clippings, yearbooks, scrapbooks, poetry, resumes, tributes, journals, photographs, patriarchal blessings, and biographical materials. Also includes published, unpublished, and workcopy music manuscripts by the Madsens. Materials date from 1870 to 1976.

Dates: 1880-1976

Franklin and Florence Jepperson Madsen photographs

 Collection — Box 1
Identifier: UA P 8
Scope and Contents

Contains photographs of the Madsens documenting their military and missionary service, as well as their careers and performances. Materials date from between approximately 1911 and 1964.

Dates: approximately 1911-1964

Franklin Madsen collection of biographies

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1143
Scope and Contents

Typewritten biographies of musicians, composers, and painters from various places in Europe. Also included are questions and summaries of chapters found in the "Essentials in Music History." The dates of the compositions of these items are uncertain.

Dates: approximately 1950

Photograph of Franklin Madsen

 Digital Record
Identifier: UAP2_F103_p103bottomleft

Photograph of the Faculty Quartet

 Digital Record
Identifier: UAP2_F102_p102top

Additional filters:

Archival Object 10
Digital Record 4
Collection 4
Photographs 15
Music 14
Colleges and Universities 13
Education 13
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences 12