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2014 brings 70th birthday celebrations for Karl Jenkins

(December 2013)

Composer Karl Jenkins's 70th birthday is celebrated in 2014, with special concerts in Carnegie Hall in New York, the Royal Albert Hall in London and his native Wales.

Karl Jenkins is 70 on 17 February 2014 and concerts are scheduled around the world in honour of the much-loved Welsh-born composer. Jenkins made his name with the best-selling Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary, and his following scores for choir and orchestra such as The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace and Requiem are among the most frequently and widely performed new works of recent years.

The birthday celebrations began on 20 January in New York with an all-Jenkins concert at Carnegie Hall. The programme presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York included the US premiere of The Bards of Wales plus Stabat Mater and music from The Armed Man. Premiered in 2011 in Budapest, The Bards of Wales forges unexpected links between Hungary and Wales. Hungarian poet János Arany (1817-82) protested against his Austrian overlords by drawing upon a piece of Welsh history, when Edward I of England executed Welsh bards for failing to sing his praises. The poem, which Jenkins sets, is today a required text for Hungarian schoolchildren to memorise. The Bards of Wales is scored for tenor, chorus and orchestra and the New York performance featured soloist Rhys Meirion and DCINY forces conducted by Jonathan Griffith.

The birthday month brings a special Jenkins 70th feature within the Classic FM Live concert at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 10 February. The event is compered by Aled Jones and performers include harpist Catrin Finch and the orchestra of Welsh National Opera.

The Royal Albert Hall in London presents an all-Jenkins 70th birthday celebration on 9 May, with the composer conducting the Royal Choral Society and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme surveys his most popular works including The Armed Man, Requiem, Adiemus, Stabat Mater, Euphonium Concerto and The Peacemakers.

Welsh festivals planning Jenkins 70th features include the Llangollen International Eisteddfod which presents the world premiere of Karl Jenkins's new Adiemus Colores, as heard on the recent Deutsche Grammophon disc. The premiere on 9 July takes place during the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, and the South American colours of Jenkins’s 70-minute work, rich in samba, tango and bolero, should chime with the sporting spectacular. Jenkins conducts the Eisteddfod performance of Adiemus Colores with guest artists including American tenor Noah Stewart, Venezuelan trumpeter Pacho Flores and Latvian accordion player Ksenija Sidorova.

Other Welsh festivals celebrating Jenkins’s 70th include the Gower Festival, close to the composer's birthplace in Penclawdd and his home on the Gower peninsula for many years, which concludes on 12 July with a Jenkins concert featuring harpist Catrin Finch, euphonist David Childs, the Gower Festival Chorus and the Chamber Orchestra of Wales.

St David's Hall in Cardiff hosts the major Welsh celebration of Jenkins’s 70th on 19 September, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in a mixed programme including The Armed Man.

Euphonium virtuoso David Childs is touring a Jenkins 70th programme throughout 2014 in conjunction with Euphonium Foundation UK, including works specially written and arranged for him by Jenkins. Childs has given over 40 performances of the Euphonium Concerto, will be recording the work in January 2014 for future release on Chandos, and is scheduled to perform the concerto in several Jenkins 70th concerts.

The major recording release in Jenkins’s 70th birthday year will be a new Deutsche Grammophon collection of his choral music, featuring Polyphony conducted by Stephen Layton. A number of new Jenkins choral works and a cappella arrangements will be published by Boosey & Hawkes linked to the new disc.

2014 is also the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and Jenkins's The Armed Man is providing a commemorative focus for many choirs. One of the largest events is a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 28 September organised by Sing UK. The concert, presented in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum's Centenary Partnership, features over 600 youth choir singers from the UK, Germany, Belgium and France, together with the Philharmonia Orchestra. For further information visit singuk.org.

For a full list of future Karl Jenkins performances click here.


> Más información sobre la obra: Adiemus Colores

Photo: Rhys Frampton/Deutsche Grammophon

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