“Karl Jenkins has to be one of the most multi talented and popular composers of our time.”

The Hon Richard Lyttleton, former President EMI Classics

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE


Biography

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE is, globally, among the most performed living composers. In 2023 his music was played at the Coronation of King Charles III, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace gained the unique status of having achieved “1000 Weeks” in the UK Classical chart, ranked fourth in the Classic FM Hall of Fame – the highest position for a living composer, fifth in a list of Great British Classics and selected to represent the decade 2000-2009 in BBC Radio 3’s Soundscape of a Century.

Karl Jenkins read music at Cardi? University and the Royal Academy of Music, London. Resisting categorization, his style and integrity have transcended musical boundaries: jazz at Ronnie Scott’s Club; first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival with Nucleus, jazz fusion with Soft Machine, award-winning advert soundtracks (Levis, British Airways, Audi); scoring a Kiefer Sutherland movie; the Freedom of the City of London, BBC Desert Island Discs, ITV South Bank Show and, in the distant past, recording sessions with many: Elton John, George Harrison, Andrew Lloyd Webber…

Together with his global ‘cross-genre’ phenomenon Adiemus (1995), his best-known work is The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (2000), which has received 3000 performances around the globe since its millennium premiere.

Memorable performances include, New York on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the Mercedes Benz Arena, Berlin with the World Orchestra for Peace and a choir of 2000 from 30 countries, commemorating 100 years since the end of World War I.

The two works were pivotal to his future oeuvre over 30 years, as he continued to progress ideas seen in those pieces; peace, multiculturism and the inclusion of global instrumentation and text, often set alongside the traditional sacred Latin: Requiem, Stabat Mater, Gloria, Miserere, The Peacemakers.

Karl Jenkins has 17 ‘gold and platinum’ discs for his output. Alongside his solo recordings, he has written music for Sir Bryn Terfel, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Leslie Garrett, Rolando Villazon, Milos Karadaglic, Jess Gillam and the London Symphony Orchestra.

His reach as a composer is global, with concerts at The Royal Albert Hall, Zaryadye Hall Moscow, Carnegie Hall, The Forbidden City Concert Hall Beijing, the NCPA Mumbai and Buckingham Palace.

Karl Jenkins was awarded a Knighthood in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours and his autobiography Still with the Music was published by Elliott & Thompson. His music is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes and he is a Decca Records recording artist. Decca bestowed upon him the unprecedented distinction of a Lifetime deal, the first time the label has made such a commitment to any artist.

His most recent work is One World, conducted by the composer and performed by the World Choir for Peace and the World Orchestra for Peace. It was released by Decca Records in summer 2023, going straight to number one in the UK Classical chart and received its concert premiere at the Brucknerhaus in Linz in November 2023 with over 700 singers from around the world.

His recent saxophone concerto Stravaganza was premiered by Jess Gillam and the Deutschen Symphonie-Orchester at the Berlin Philharmonie in June 2023.

As a composer he recognises no boundaries – musical, commercial, geographical, or cultural. His is a way of thinking and composing that is perfectly in tune with the spirit of the times” – citation on receiving CFM’s ‘Red f ‘award for ‘outstanding service to classical music’.

Karl Jenkins

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