This interview was conducted with Karl in April 2015
When did you first develop an interest in music?
Well I was fortunate that my father was a musician; a music teacher and also a chapel organist and choirmaster so music was always in the house. It wasn’t that I developed an interest so to speak but more that it was just always there, in both recorded and live forms, and I took to it from an early age.
Whose music did you admire when you were younger... and now?
As I grew up I learnt the piano with my father, and then before I went to school I started learning the recorder. When I went to Gowerton Grammar School I took up the oboe, and from there I began playing in youth orchestras such as the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. I was brought up in that classical upbringing, so my early heroes therefore are the same as my fathers’: the likes of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven etc. through to Bartok and Stravinsky. But in my teenage years I found a huge interest in jazz music when I realized that classical contemporary composition didn’t appeal to me. There are numerous people in this category but I’m talking about the likes of trumpeter Miles Davis and saxophonist John Coltrane. However I’ve always tried to be open to all forms and I’ve never wanted to categorize music as such.
Is this where you get the majority the inspiration for your work?
Well inspiration is a word I don’t really understand, to be honest. Many of the great composers wrote music to order – Bach wrote cantatas and Mozart wrote operas or whatever, so much of my music is written to order as well so I just get down and do it, a little every day. I tend to sit down at the keyboard and doodle around. The good ideas I keep, and develop, and the ones I don’t like tend to be jettisoned. But I never wait for lightening to strike; I find it never works. It’s just a question of working on developing ideas, and it becomes gradually easier. At the moment one still gets good days and bad days but as a general rule, one learns how to do it.
Percussion instruments have a central role in a lot of your work. Why are they so important?
Well I suppose that came from my jazz heritage and upbringing. I’ve always wanted to use percussion more as a pulse, as it is in jazz and rock music, and use vocal possibilities as more of an interjection of colour, as would be the case for the most part in classical music, so it stems from that I think. I’ve always been influenced by other world cultures and ethnic music, and so I’ve always invested heavily in ethnic percussion, especially South American rhythms and jazz percussion. Through the years I’ve also worked in different areas, including advertising music – especially jazz and rock fusion bands – so all of these kind of influences went into whatever melting pot there I have, and out of it comes what I have eventually ended up creating. That is, I suppose, music based on classical principles, but always borrowing or looking to other cultures for motivation, ideas and instrumentation. It’s as simple as that really.
With this in mind, which compositions are you most proud of and why?
Well it’s kind of odd because it’s hard to quantify. One would normally say the Armed Man as it’s the most popular and has been performed nearly 2000 times and it does have a resonance with people that goes beyond the actual music. But I think there’s better music in my Requiem than in the Armed Man. The Peacemakers I like; Adiemus too for different reasons, though that’s very off-the-wall and difficult to categorize. I don’t have favourite offspring really, they’re all my children in some kind of way really and I like all of them – or hate them(!) – in different ways.
Are you working on any major projects at the moment?
Yes the imminent work that I haven’t started yet is the piece that I am writing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster of 1966. Aberfan was a South Wales coalfield near Merthyr Tydfil which suffered a geological shift due to torrential rain and water springs underneath the surface of the land, which proceeded to envelope a school, killing 116 children and 28 adults. That date will be commemorated in October 2016 so I am writing an hour-long work for orchestra, adult choir and children’s chorus. The fantastic multi-lingual Welsh poet and librettist Mererid Hopwood is offering the text and I am honoured to be providing the music.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Would you like to have Karl Jenkins write a piece for your choir? Showcase your performance and you can be in for a chance of receiving just that!
The prize is a brand new short a cappella choral work composed by Karl Jenkins for the lucky winning choir, and dedicated to them. To win this unique prize, we ask you to show us your choir in action! Our favourite performance of a piece from the new album will win!
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Following the huge success of over 2 million records sold with critically acclaimed albums such as Adiemus, The Armed Man, The Peacemakers and Requiem, Karl Jenkins presents his brand new album!
Motets is an intimate a capella album that features stunning new choral adaptions of Jenkins’ previous hit compositions and marks the year of his 70th birthday and fifty years of his career in music.
As a composer and a brand – a brand that stands for an epic sound that connects with people from all different age groups on a spiritual level - Karl Jenkins remains one of the most performed living composers in the world today. The concept Motets goes back in time and celebrates his hits from the past in a newly arranged intimate sound – accessible, performable, emotional.
Recent reviews declare Polyphony “one of the best small choirs now before the public” (Telegraph) and “possibly the best small professional chorus in the world” (Encore Magazine, USA)
You can preview each track on the new album by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfAXvwoxo7k
Deutsche Grammophon: http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/gb/cat/4793232
Friday, July 26, 2013
A profile of composer Karl Jenkins. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Terry Waite and Bryn Terfel are among those talking about why his music resonates with audiences worldwide.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Karl Jenkins' Adiemus albums are known worldwide, all of them variations on the unique musical concept which he pioneered with the million-selling Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary in 1995. It has been well over 10 years since he last released an album under the Adiemus umbrella, so there's keen anticipation for the brand-new Adiemus Colores. This time Karl has looked to South America for inspiration, adding arresting musical colours and Latin rhythms such as the tango and the samba to the mixture which, of course, uses Karl's invented language as text; using the human voice as an instrument and not as a conveyor of narrative.
Adiemus Colores is the first album Jenkins has made for Deutsche Grammophon . Karl went in search of musicians who would share an instinctive feel for his new music, and he was delighted to be able to call upon the services of other performers from the Universal Music roster. These included the trumpet of brilliant Venezuelan musician Pacho Flores, a superb Lisbon-based fado singer Cuca Roseta, Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón, and the fast-rising classical guitar star Milos Karadaglic. The choir is the Adiemus Singers (from Helsinki) and the orchestra is the specially formed Le orquesta de colores.
Adiemus Colores is packed with intense and characterful musical performances. As the title suggests, Karl has named the tracks after different colours to suggest their character - red for passion, white for innocence, turquoise for sensuousness and so on. "They're pegs on which to hang the music".
You can preview all the tracks on the album by listening HERE.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
This short film was submitted to Deutsche Grammophon, inspired by the music of "Naranja" , a track from Karl's "Colores " CD. Please feel free to pass it on.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
After the sell out concert at London 's Royal Albert Hall in April , Karl has announced 3 more UK concerts featuring him conducting "The Armed Man " in Birmingham , Manchester and Cardiff . Ticket information below , more details of performers and programme to follow.
Saturday 2 November 2013, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 7.30pm
Box Office 0121 345 0603
Sunday 3 November 2013, The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 3.00pm
Box Office 0844 907 9000
Sunday 17 November 2013, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, 3.00pm
Box Office 029 2087 8444
Friday, February 01, 2013
The 30 minutes' documentary film based on the story of The Bards of Wales (BOW) will be broadcast on S4C Saturday 2 February at 7pm, followed by the concert film that was recorded last year at the Eisteddfod.
This really is an important milestone in the life of the BOW Project and therefore I urge you to watch this programme if you can, and please be so kind to spread the word about it as well so that others will also be alerted in due time.
May I once again express my sincere gratitude to all those who helped us in making this programme possible.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
S4C will broadcast the British premiere of composer Karl Jenkins’ new work - a dramatic musical interpretation of the poem, 'Beirdd Cymru' (The Bards of Wales) – on Saturday, 2 February.
Preceding the concert S4C will screen a documentary about the composer and this unique work presented by musician and chaired bard, Twm Morys, who translated the piece into Welsh.
‘Beirdd Cymru’ was first performed in Britain at the Vale of Glamorgan National Eisteddfod last year, with Karl Jenkins conducting the Eisteddfod Choir and the Chamber Orchestra of Wales. The soloists were the tenor, Dennis O’Neill and the soprano, Rebecca Evans together with Gareth Rhys Davies, Huw Euron and Elen Williams.
The programme Beirdd Cymru Karl Jenkins will be the first television broadcast of the work in Welsh. The work, which forges a surprising link between Hungary and Wales, was premiered in Hungary in June 2011. The Hungarian poet János Arany was asked to write a poem in praise of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph but as the Austrian overlords, the Habsburgs, had just suppressed the 1848 Hungarian Revolution, the poet did the opposite.
To satisfy the state censor, the poem was written in 1857 about Welsh history rather than Hungary’s past. It told how Edward I of England had executed Welsh bards for refusing to sing his praises at a banquet in Montgomery Castle in 1277. Dennis O’Neill sings the part of the king, Rebecca Evans, Gareth Rhys Davies and Huw Euron the bards and Elen Williams a minstrel.
When Hungary became an independent country after World War I, 'Beirdd Cymru' found its place in the national education system and the piece is still studied in Hungary’s schools to this day.
The composer from Penclawdd, Karl Jenkins has set the text in Hungarian, Welsh and English and the work can be sung either in a single language or a combination of languages.
The documentary Beirdd Cymru: Y Stori is a curtain-raiser for the concert telling the story of the composition and taking viewers to three locations significant in the story – Montgomery Castle, Budapest and Debrecen in Hungary. The programme will give the background to the commissioning of Karl Jenkins’ work by a travel agent from Hungary, Laszlo Iriniy, who first came to Wales in 1984 as a student member of a choir competing at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
Hefin Owen, producer of the two programmes, said, "The concert is important historically for us as Welsh people and for the link between us and Hungary. Wales is perhaps more significant in cultural terms to the Hungarian people than Hungary is to us though we know of their composers such as Kodály and Bartók."
Beirdd Cymru: Y Stori
Saturday 2 February 7.00pm, S4C
Rondo productions for S4C
S4C is available on:
Sky 104 in Wales
Freeview on 4 in Wales
Virgin TV on 167 in Wales
Freesat 104 in Wales
Sky 134 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Freesat 120 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Virgin TV 167 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Friday, November 02, 2012
On April 28th 2013 at the Royal Albert Hall, London, Karl conducts The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace and Requiem. Featuring the especially formed Benedictus Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, these are two of his most popular works and, as a recent survey shows, the two most performed works in the 21st century by a living composer.
Tickets may be purchased from.... http://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/the-armed-man/default.aspx
Karl is currently busily composing a work for a major recording project with an international cast. An announcement and corresponding details of this will be given in the new year.
Monday, October 15, 2012
BBC One (ONLY ON WALES) is airing a documentary at 10.45 PM on Wednesday, October 17th profiling Karl
A profile of the Welsh composer Karl Jenkins. As the world's most-performed living composers this programme looks at the life and work of one of Wales's most successful classical composers. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Terry Waite and Bryn Terfel are among the contributors who describe why his music resonates with audiences across the world.
Monday, October 01, 2012
The Story of Wales will be featured on BBC 2 Network from tomorrow night at 7pm (2nd October 2012).
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The Peacemakers, a brand new choral work composed by Karl Jenkins, offers inspiration and solace for a time in need of both. It features texts from some of the greatest peacemakers throughout history, including Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank and Mother Teresa, as well as words from the Bible and the Qur’an with some new text specially written by Terry Waite.
The London Symphony Orchestra is joined by different vocal forces including Rundfunkchor Berlin, the City of Birmingham Youth Chorus, and the 1000-strong "The Really Big Chorus" made up of members of UK choirs from across the country brought together in one day, in one studio, to contribute to two movements on the album. Guest artists include violinist Chloë Hanslip, soprano Lucy Crowe, Davy Spillane on Uilleann pipes, Indian bansuri (ethnic flute) player Ashwin Srinivasan and jazz greats Nigel Hitchcock and Laurence Cottle.
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester May 19th
Royal Festival Hall, London May 20th
St. David's Hall, Cardiff, May 23rd
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, May 27th
The International Eisteddfod, Llangollen, July 6th
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Britain's most successful contemporary composer, Karl Jenkins. He is most famous for developing a style that fuses his classical background with his interest in jazz and world music and his albums top the charts around the world. He was brought up in a small Welsh village and, after his mother died, lived with his father, grandmother and widowed aunt. His father taught him the piano when he was a child and in his teens he gravitated towards the oboe and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
It has been brought to my attention that extracts from my piece Adiemus have been used as background music on an American political campaign video. I have a general policy of never allowing my music to be used for political purposes, and my publisher is therefore working to ensure that the music is removed from the film.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Karl's new work The Peacemakers (Buy Tickets) is about to see light of day. Using text by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Albert Schweizter, Terry Waite as well as Shelley, the Bible, Quran, Hinduism etc, the work extolls peace. One line, from Rumi [the 13th- century Persian mystic poet] sums up the ethos of the work; “All religions, all singing one song; Peace be with you”.
The premiere is at Carnegie Hall, New York on January 16th 2012 with the composer conducting, which coincides with the USA CD release. The CD (on EMI Classics) features the Radiofunkchor Berlin, the CBSO Youth Chorus, the London Symphony Orchestra and a host of stellar soloists together with the 1000 strong "Really Big Chorus"on a couple of movements.
Karl conducts his Requiem in Hong Kong (Feb.16th) and Te Deum in Beijing (Feb 20th), which also sees the premiere of a new piece, Qing Zhu (celebration), commissioned by Dulwich College, Beijing.
There are several UK premieres in 2012: Songs of the Earth for the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales together with massed youth chorus, The Olympians for The Really Big Chorus at the Royal Albert Hall, The Hero's Journey (text by Grahame Davies) for the London Welsh Male Voice Choir and the Cory Band (brass band world champions) also at RAH, & Alexander Palace, and The Bards of Wales (Welsh language version) based on the iconic Hungarian text, at the 2012 National Eisteddfod of Wales.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
One of the most extraordinary concerts of the last few years took place at Avery Fisher Hall on September 11th, 2011. In performances presented by DCINY, known as Distinguished Concerts International New York, the audience couldn’t have received a better gift: beautifully performed, inspiring music. The crowd in attendance was so large that the lines of people spiraled around the columns in the lobby of Avery Fisher—everyone waiting to be uplifted, and they were.
Anthony Aibel for New York Concert Review; New York, NY
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
With Performances Around the World, culminating in a Memorial Concert at New York's Lincoln Center, Featuring the Music of Karl Jenkins and René Clausen.
On September 11, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, Karl Jenkins will host a concert with Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jenkins, one of the world's most popular living composers, will conduct his powerful work "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" along with the U.S. premiere of his recent work "For The Fallen." The concert will also feature a piece by composer and conductor René Clausen entitled "Memorial," which was composed specifically for the victims of 9/11. Although these three choral works are shot through with the terrors and tragedies of human violence, the ultimate message is one of transcendence, remembrance and a firm belief in the healing power of music.
In coordination with this important event, DCINY and their partners (including EMI Classics and Boosey & Hawkes) are now inviting choruses around the world to take part in a Global Sing For Peace, urging them to perform either "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" or "Memorial," in part or in their entirety, during the month of September 2011. Participating choruses will be featured in the DCINY program book at the September 11th commemorative concert on September 11 and on the Global Sing for Peace website. Additionally, any photographs or video recordings of the performances will also be collected and displayed on the website (see below for details), creating a mosaic of voices unified in their call for peace on the anniversary of one of history's darkest hours.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL SING FOR PEACE
Choirs who wish to participate must program a performance of either Karl Jenkins' "The Armed Man" or René Clausen's "Memorial" (the works in their entirety or individual movements) at some point during the month of September 2011. An orchestra-only audio file of the "Agnus Dei" movement from "The Armed Man" can be downloaded free of charge at www.GlobalSingForPeace.org, providing a backing track which choirs can perform over without live orchestral accompaniment.
Participating ensembles are asked to sign up at www.GlobalSingForPeace.org with the details of their performance. There is no cost to be part of the Global Sing, and ensembles that sign up by August 1st will have their names included in the Lincoln Center Playbill program for the aforementioned September 11th Memorial concert at New York City's Avery Fisher Hall, as well as a listing on the Global Sing website.
From Karl Jenkins:
"This is your opportunity to dedicate your performance at home to the commemoration marking 10 years since the tragedy of 9/11. For those who cannot be in New York, join us in spirit. Sign up to show your support and spread the word."
From René Clausen:
"The reason I wrote this piece (was) to express the powerful emotions that gripped all of us on that horrific day, to find a way to hope, and the possibility of finding common ground. Please consider signing up for the Global Sing for Peace--the world needs YOUR voice!"
The Global Sing for Peace was conceived by DCINY in association with their partners, EMI Classics, Boosey & Hawkes, Roger Dean Publishing Company, and the Welsh Government, to create this unique experience. "The idea of Global Sing for Peace came from the desire to invite choirs from around the world to be a participant in the Commemorative Concert. We want to bring musicians from around the world together to lift their voices in song for peace," said Jonathan Griffith, DCINY Artistic Director.
ABOUT THE WORKS
"The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" (by Karl Jenkins) has firmly established itself as one of the most successful choral works of our time. The epic composition features Jenkins's signature use of world music elements and has been performed over 900 times in over 30 countries. Commissioned jointly by The Royal Armouries of Britain and Classic FM in the UK, "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" was initially inspired by the Kosovan conflict, and still resounds as a universal message for peace.
In a rapturous performance, by turns visceral and ethereal, the Mass was a firebomb of orchestral and human voices. –The Times on Jenkins's "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace"
"For The Fallen" (by Karl Jenkins) is a new setting of Laurence Binyon's iconic poem of remembrance, originally arranged for choir, narrator, trumpet and organ. The work is dedicated to the memory of the composer's viola-playing uncle, Pilot Officer Alfryn Jenkins, a soldier lost in action, together with his all-Welsh crew, during a raid over Berlin in 1944.
"Memorial" (by René Clausen), a composition for mixed chorus, orchestra, and baritone solo, was written in 2003 to commemorate the victims of 9/11. The work has sections titled "September Morning," "The Attack," "Prayers," and "Petitions," but the text never specifically mentions September 11th itself.
ABOUT THE COMPOSERS
Karl Jenkins is one of the most performed living composers in the world with seventeen gold and platinum disc awards. Born in Wales, Jenkins studied the oboe and graduated from Cardiff University, followed by post-graduate studies at London's Royal College of Music. A passion for jazz -- he was a member of the bands Nucleus and Soft Machine -- led him to composition. Among his numerous awards, Jenkins was awarded an OBE, by Her Majesty The Queen, in the 2005 New Year's Honors List and a CBE in the 2010 Birthday Honors List "for services to music."
René Clausen is a celebrated American composer and the conductor of The Concordia Choir, and associate professor of music at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.
Global Sing for Peace website
Boosey & Hawkes documentary on Karl Jenkins
René Clausen website
René Clausen video
ABOUT DISTINGUISHED CONCERTS INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK (DCINY)
Founded by Iris Derke (General Director) and Jonathan Griffith (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor) Distinguished Concerts International is driven by passion, innovative vision, a total belief in its artists, and unwavering commitment to bringing forth unforgettable audience experiences. With over 25 combined years of experience, DCINY is a creative producing entity with unmatched integrity that is a talent incubator, a star‐maker, and a presenter of broadly accessible, world‐class musical entertainment.
Judith Kampfner Communications International Media
Eric M. Gewirtz Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Monday, August 22, 2011
The RTE lyric fm interview with Karl Jenkins will be broadcast Friday 26th at 7pm.
You'll be able to listen back through www.rte.ie/lyricfm/mytunes
Sunday, May 08, 2011
City Hall, Cork, The Armed Man
"Stunned, overpowered, moved - these were some reactions I overheard from audience members following Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace, the work chosen for the opening of the 57th Cork International Choral Festival. Jenkins conducted the RTE Concert Orchestra, (the) Lady's Choral Society, and mezzo soloist Sharon Carty in a superb performance of his most famous, justifiably popular work...
When these skills are combined with an inventive text and a back-drop of filmed images of war, pictures of political leaders who have sent their armies to war, and images of the frightful consequences of war and terrorism, the emotional impact is overwhelming."
Friday, April 08, 2011
Karl will be the special guest in Cambridge at this year's MMA Conference on May 21st.
Karl will provide a special interview with the opportunity for members to engage in a Q+A.
Further information at: http://www.mma-online.org.uk/?p=526
Thursday, February 24, 2011
This 2CD compilation, released 21st March, presents a selection of the most popular pieces by the nation's best-loved living composer, Karl Jenkins. It includes music from best-selling recordings Adiemus, The Armed Man, Requiem, Gloria, Stabat Mater, Palladio, Stella Natalis and Quirk.
Karl Jenkins, who was awarded a CBE in 2010, is widely recognised as the world’s most popular living composer following a recent poll by renowned cultural commentator Norman Lebrecht. The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace is his most performed work, having been performed over 1000 times since its world premiere at London’s Royal Albert Hall in April 2000. Commissioned jointly by The Royal Armouries and Classic FM, it was initially inspired by the Kosovan conflict, but the clear message of hope this work brings to so many resounds even stronger ten years later. The piece regularly sits high in the Classic FM ‘Hall of Fame’ voted for by listeners, coming in at #15 in the latest poll, making Karl Jenkins the radio station’s best-loved living composer.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
On Nov 16th Karl received his CBE from Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, an event which rounded off a frantic two week period. 2010 is the tenth anniversary of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, a date just celebrated by three sell-out concerts at the RFH [London], Leicester & Cardiff, all with standing ovations. There is now available, to commemorate the anniversary, a special edition package that includes the re-mastered CD and a DVD of a televised broadcast conducted by the composer. An extra new piece has been added to the CD, For the Fallen: In Memoriam Alfryn Jenkins. As Karl says, "This setting of the iconic Laurence Binyon poem ['They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old...' ] ,which incorporates The Last Post in the orchestration, is dedicated to the memory of Alfryn Jenkins, my uncle & viola player, who was captain of a Lancaster bomber that was lost, with an all Welsh crew, over Berlin in 1944. The piece features Hayley Westenra, Bernard Cribbins [eminent actor and one time paratrooper] as narrator, The National Youth Choir of Great Britain & the London Symphony Orchestra." The piece was premiered before the Queen on Nov. 13th at this year’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.
2011 sees the world premier of The Bards of Wales, a new symphonic work based on a ballad by the Hungarian poet, Janos Arany, that relates to the tale of King Edward I of England executing five hundred Welsh bards for failing to sing his praises at a banquet in Montgomery Castle in 1277. The Budapest performance will be conducted by the composer.
In addition, a new CD for EMI Classics is to be released in the autumn, an “Armed Man” tour of Eire is scheduled for April while March sees the release of “Classic Jenkins…The Very Best of Karl Jenkins” a double CD compilation on EMI Classics of his best known pieces.
In June, a weekend festival of Karl’s choral works takes place in Quebec, Canada in June, conducted by the composer.
Specific dates for all these events will be posted in the New Year.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Jan 17th, 2011 [Martin Luther King Day] sees the USA premier at Carnegie Hall [conducted by Jonathan Griffith] of the recently released Gloria while next year, in what is sure to be an emotional evening, Karl is scheduled to conduct a performance of The Armed Man at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York on the anniversary of 9/11.
A recent exhaustive global survey has shown Karl Jenkins to be the most performed living composer in the world today.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Remembering a Brave Uncle...
Western Mail Article, Karen Price
KARL Jenkins has composed a new work in memory of his uncle who died fighting for his country during the Second World War.
Jenkins, was a baby when bomber pilot Alfryn Jenkins was killed over Berlin in March 1944.
Jenkins’ four-minute piece, For the Fallen: In Memoriam Alfryn Jenkins, will be premiered tomorrow at London’s Royal Albert Hall during the televised annual Festival of Remembrance.
It is set to the iconic poem by Laurence Binyon, which incorporates the Last Post, and features the vocals of international soprano Hayley Westenra as well as text read by Bernard Cribbins.
The piece is featured on the 10th anniversary re-release of Jenkins’ album The Armed Man.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
From Bach and Beethoven to Mile Davis and the Beatles, all great musicians have their own “Sound” – a particular way of making music that’s instantly identifiable and absolutely unique. Like Gershwin and Bernstein before him, the “sound” of Karl Jenkins is a successful fusion of classical, ethnic and popular music and, like those of his illustrious forebears, it’s one, which has delighted millions of people the world over.
Where Gershwin put together Rachmaninov and ragtime to form Rhapsody in Blue and Bernstein fused Stravinsky and Latin be-bop in West Side Story, Karl, as befits a man of our polyglot multi-cultural age, draws material from a vastly extended range of historical and cultural traditions. He uses elements of classical, jazz and ethnic music, adding a further dimension with the latest electronic production techniques. Assembling a “palette” of musical colours is, however, only a first step in composing any piece of music, it’s the way they’re put together that really counts.
Over the years, in addition to honing his natural command of musical style, he further developed the ability to crystallize the unique musical essence of each genre. In the long run this has proved crucial to the success of his music because it provides Karl with a starting point from which we can integrate his various musical influences – finding and using the things that unite rather than divide them.
This pluralistic ability to celebrate different cultures and places, whilst simultaneously integrating them into a harmonious unity, is perhaps what has captured the imagination of so many people around the globe – encapsulating as it does so much about our everyday lives, hopes and dreams.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Karl Jenkins CBE celebrates 10th anniversary of best-selling choral work The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace
25th October 2010 - EMI classics releases special edition album featuring. Brand new piece for the fallen which receives its world premiere performance at the Royal British Legion festival of remembrance.
The voices of Bernard Cribbins and Hayley Westenra feature on new piece for the fallen.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Following his prestigious award of the CBE from Her Majesty the Queen in her recent Birthday Honours list “for services to music” and the release of Gloria & Te Deum a recent exhaustive survey has shown Karl Jenkins to be the most performed living composer in the world today.
2010 is the tenth anniversary of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, an event celebrated by a series of concerts, conducted by Karl, and the autumn release of a special edition package that includes the re-mastered CD and a DVD of a televised broadcast conducted by the composer. An extra new piece has been added to the CD, For the Fallen: In Memoriam Alfryn Jenkins. As Karl says, “This setting of the iconic Laurence Binyon poem [ ‘They shall grow not, old as we that are left grow old…’ ] ,which incorporates The Last Post in the orchestration, is dedicated to the memory of Alfryn Jenkins, my uncle & viola player, who was captain of a Lancaster bomber that was lost, with an all Welsh crew, over Berlin in 1944. The piece features Hayley Westenra, Bernard Cribbins [eminent actor and one time paratrooper] as narrator, The National Youth Choir of Great Britain & the London Symphony Orchestra.” It will be premiered at this year’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.
The London anniversary concert is at the Royal Festival Hall on Oct 31st and features the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The previous evening [Oct. 30th] sees a performance at the De Monfort Hall, Leicester, again with the Philharmonia but with the Leicester Philharmonic Choir while St.David’s Hall, Cardiff, welcomes the Cory Band [World Brass Band Champions] with massed Welsh choirs in performing the work.
The first half of the London concert sees the premier of a new work written for Kazakh violin virtuoso, Marat Bisengaliev, with whom Karl has had a long musical relationship.‘Shakarim’ is inspired by the work of the Kazakh poet and musician Shakarim Kudaiberdiuly [1858-1934] and features the same participants as The Armed man together with Marat & some Kazakh ‘ethnic foilk soloists’. Two movements from the violin concerto written for Marat completes the first half.
On November 26th Karl conducts his Christmas works, Stella Natalis and Joy to the World, featuring Tenerbrae, the choir that recorded the works, at St Lukes Church, Grayshott, Surrey.
Jan 17th, Martin Luther King Day, sees the USA premier at Carnegie Hall [conducted by Jonathan Griffith] of the recently released Gloria while next year, in what is sure to be an emotional evening, Karl is scheduled to conduct a performance of The Armed Man at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York on the anniversary of 9/11.