By Emilie Holmes
Bestor came from a musically talented family, he said, so it was assumed he would "do something musical" too. His grandfather played the trumpet -- and passed that talent on to his grandson eventually.
Although he said no one can really find a start to his music, Bestor started playing the piano when he was 7.
"I hated practicing," he said. "Just hated it."
Then one day, a couple of years into his piano career, his mother sat next to him on the bench and told him to play something that sounded like a sunrise. So, he did.
"I've been playing sunrises since," he said after mentioning his first sunrise was "probably terrible."
The majority of Bestor's life has been spent in Utah. He was born in Wisconsin and lived there for seven years. After a year in Colorado, his family moved to Utah -- Orem, Utah -- in 1967 where he stayed. He attended Orem High School and Brigham Young University, where he earned a degree in music composition.
His own music composition started years before college though.
His high school teacher, who Bestor lists as one of his greatest teachers, let him play his own stuff.
"He believed in me," he said. "He let me play Bestor and Bach."
He said Christmas -- musically, that is -- started officially in 1988.
"I needed to get out there," he said. So, Bestor said he disguised his voice and called radio stations in Salt Lake City to get the word out about his first Christmas concert.
After what he said was a very successful concert ("sold-out 2,500 seats"), his Christmas seasons would be booked for the next 15 plus years.
Bestor's Christmas resume is only a small addition to his all-round musical experience. In 1988 he helped write the music for ABC during the Calgary Olympics. That endeavor won him an Emmy the next year. He also helped with the music for the 1998 Atlanta Olympics and 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Many remember seeing him conducting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during Salt Lake's closing ceremonies and running with the torch shortly before the games started.
Along with his Olympic participation, Bestor has written music for television, radio and movies. His Web site, www.kurtbestor.com, says he has scored over 40 pieces for TV and over 30 for film. His TV experience includes both programs and commercials.Bestor said one of the most memorable work he's done is his music for ABC's Monday Night Football that opened the show every week.
"I actually made money while I lay on the couch watching the show," he said.
In addition to Monday Night Football, Bestor's music has been heard as the National Geographic Explorer theme song, ABC's Sunday Night Movie, TBS's Wild! Life Adventures, the IMAX movie, Great American West, and during the Super Bowl among many other movies and shows.
Writing music for Bestor is usually a project, he said. But at least he enjoys it. He said because he's working on so many projects, everything is always written on deadline.
"I force myself to feel like that -- to kick myself into a creative mode -- every time I write," he said.
He said maybe one day he'll have the luxury of sitting around and writing whenever he desires, but right now he's living with the deadlines.
This year, his Christmas concerts are a little different, he said. Because of the conflict going on in the world now, he wants audience members to feel removed while they're with him.
"I want them to feel like everything's OK in the world for just a little while," he said.
In November he started learning how to say the word "peace" in as many different languages as possible. He said he hoped to interject that into his concerts.
"It's time to have people think again about the brotherhood of men," he said. "It makes me sad with what's going on in the world."
While his concerts don't have an official theme, this year the indirect theme will be "Peace on Earth," he said.
"For every bomb that's dropped [around the world], I'd like to drop a musical bomb," he said.
Along with helping people musically, Bestor hopes he can possibly help people in other ways too. He doesn't like to use the word politics, but doesn't deny people have joined his name with the word.
"I think I can be more effective by not running," he said.
"I'm not happy
While Bestor said he hopes to be more of a public figure than an actual politician ("like Bono from U2 or Sting"), he said he'll never say he won't run for an office. And, he said he's sure he'll always be "very involved in politics."
He's also very up to date technologically. Bestor said he works with three computers. One is used to put the music sequences together, one to write (type) individual notes and another to see lyrics and connect to the Internet.
"I used to record on 8-tracks," he said, comparing his current situation to year ago.
Now, he said using he computers is "really no different than how Mozart wrote music. You just have a better pencil."
He's also a big supporter of Apple's iTunes.
"I'm a real fan of technology," he said. "iTunes is great. Everybody wins in that situation."
Bestor said he regularly gets music for 99 cents a song through iTunes for himself or his family. Burning CDs (copying one to another) is not something he's a fan of though.
Bestor said while he grew up listening to music such as jazz, classical and folk, over the years, his interests have broadened.
"I love world music," he said naming off countries whose music he now listens to. "I'm very into [it]."
African, Japanese and Irish music are just some of the areas of music he's attracted to.
He said his 10-disc changer in his car consists of "just about anything," including Vivaldi, the Dixie Chicks, Dave Matthews, a South African Musician named Mirriam or one of his CDs.
Bestor said he has two daughters. Kristin is 22 and a student at BYU.
Erika is 15 and a sophomore in high school in Salt Lake City. Bestor met his wife, Petrina, a native of Kenya, at the Sundance Film Festival years ago.
His daughter, Erika, has taken up his musical talent, he said.
"She's written between 20 and 30 of her own songs," he said. He most closely related her music to Tori Amos'.
Of all Bestor's accomplishments and experiences, he said his biggest triumph would not be about a particular piece of music, but a combination of e-mails and verbalizations he receives from people telling him that what he did or wrote meant something to him.
Becky Nudd, a junior majoring in liberal arts at Utah State University agrees that his music means something to her.
"I enjoy his music immensely," she said. "He's very talented."
Although Nudd said she's only heard Bestor's Christmas music, she buys his CDs because of what she feels in his music.
"It makes me know that I've partially accomplished what I want to," he said. "I just always try to communicate my feelings to other people. Some people are hearing those feelings through my music."