Arlen Card: Mormon Composer
Arlen Card is a composer and arranger with more than one hundred film scores to his credit. He also has enjoyed a successful professional career as a saxophone player and a studio-recording career on many instruments and vocals.
Card was born on April 11, 1961, in Redwood City, California, and describes his upbringing as “eclectic”—his mother filled their home with opera and sacred music, having sung in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and his father often brought home a 16 millimeter projector and showed old musicals or classic movies with great film scores. His older siblings (including Orson Scott Card) introduced him to rock, pop, country and western, and he grew to love jazz after his parents asked him to learn to play the saxophone. His family produced full-length plays and musicals for his LDS congregation (he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), in which he often acted. He won a city-wide art contest when he was in fifth grade, and a short story contest in eighth grade. He was an accomplished amateur magician and also avidly enjoyed basketball.
After serving a full-time mission to Chile, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition from Brigham Young University. He played saxophone on many regional, national, and international television programs, movie trailers, and commercials.
He scored his first film in 1987. He scored The Mountain of the Lord in 1992, which he considers his first major film and the project he is most proud of. He works on film projects for the Church and general entertainment markets. He has also composed for CD productions, stage musicals, concert works, and special-interest projects. Some of these include feature films Wind Dancer, Tears of a King, and Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (with Merrill Jenson); stage musical Barefoot to Zion; documentary miniseries On Sacred Ground; documentary The Incense Trail; and CD Just Breathe (for contemporary Christian artist Paden Smith).
Card received a juris doctorate degree from BYU in 2002. He teaches the law, business, and marketing of digital and audio media at Utah Valley University where he is an associate professor. He also practices law. He and his wife, Jennifer, and their children live in Orem, Utah.