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Merrill Jenson
20.1. 1947


Merrill Jenson is an American composer and arranger who has composed film scores for over thirty films including Emma Smith: My Story, Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd, Legacy, Harry?s War, and Windwalker. Many of the films Jenson composed music for were directed by Academy Award winning director Kieth Merrill. Jenson has also composed several concert productions including a symphony that premiered at Carnegie Hall. Additionally, he has composed music for many television commercials including the acclaimed Homefront ads, music for 3 outdoor pageants, and several albums.

Merrill Boyd Jenson was born in Richfield, Utah on January 20, 1947. He was introduced to music at an early age with his mother teaching him how to conduct music in front of a mirror while listening to recordings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She also taught him to play the piano while his father taught him the trumpet. He attended Brigham Young University where he directed the BYU Cougar Marching Band and graduated with a degree in Music Composition. Jenson?s greatest desire was to compose film music and he found himself hanging around film studios in Los Angeles. While there he swept floors and carried microphones in order to be near the industry he loved. This gave him the opportunity to interview some of the great film composers of the day.

Jenson eventually landed a few tiny composing projects at the LDS Motion Picture Studio. His big break came when he met director Kieth Merrill. Merrill hired Jenson to compose the score to the sequel of his Academy Award winning documentary The Great American Cowboy. Jenson?s score to The Great American Indian was recorded with him conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This was the first of many collaborations between Jenson and Merrill including Windwalker, Harry?s War, and Takedown. Jenson worked for many years with Bonneville Communications writing music for films and commercials for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During this time Jenson composed music for the award-winning Homefront commercials and films such as How Rare a Possession. Later he also wrote the music for the three films that have played in the Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah: Legacy, The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd, and Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. Jenson collaborated with award-winning composer Sam Cardon to compose the music for three PBS documentaries by producer and director Lee Groberg: Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail, American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith, and Sacred Stone: Temple on the Mississippi. A recent career highlight for him was composing the score for the critically acclaimed film Emma Smith: My Story which played in many theaters across the country.

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