Dr. Karl Jenkins OBE B.Mus LRAM ARAM LRAM FWCMD FTCC was raised in Penclawdd, Gower, Wales. He was educated at Gowerton Grammar School before reading music at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He then commenced postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
It was in jazz that he initially made his mark; In those days of 'Jazz Polls" he was a prolific poll winner, playing at Ronnie Scott's club before co-forming Nucleus, which won first prize at the Montreux jazz festival. This was followed by a period with Soft Machine, one of the seminal bands of the 70's.
In the field of advertising music he has won the prestigious D and AD award for best music [twice] and the 'Creative Circle Gold'. Credits include Levi's, British Airways, Renault, Volvo, De Beers, C and G, Tag Heuer, and Pepsi.
In addition he gained Bafta 'gongs' for his scores for The Celts and Testament.
It is perhaps for his Adiemus project and 'classical' works for which he now is best known. Adiemus has topped classical and 'pop' charts around the world, gaining seventeen platinum or gold album awards.
Recent commissions include works for the Royal Ballet, BBC Proms in the Park, the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Bryn Terfel, Leslie Garret, Evelyn Glennie, and The Armed Man; A Mass For Peace, commissioned by the Royal Armouries and premiered at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Over one hundred performances of this work have taken place in the UK in the past eighteen months while the CD, featuring the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, has gained Gold disc status in the UK
2002 saw the premiere of his harp concerto 'Over The Stone' commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales for the Royal Harpist, Catrin Finch accompanied by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Recent projects include scoring and conducting an album of rock classics by Bonnie Tyler and producing Catrin Finch for Sony Classical while he has written anthems for UNESCO and for the opening of the Welsh Assembly.
In These Stones Horizons Sing, featuring Bryn Terfel, Catrin Finch with the WNO Orchestra and Chorus was premiered at the Royal Gala opening of the Welsh Millennium Centre in November 2004 in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen.
His concertante, 'Quirk', commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Colin Davies, was premiered in February 2005, as part of its centenary season.
In the summer of 2005 he scored the feature film River Queen starring Kiefer Sutherland and Samantha Morton while Requiem was No1 in the UK classical charts.
In 2004 he entered Classic FM's 'Hall of Fame" at No 8., the highest position for a living composer and has been in the top ten both in 2005 and 2006 as well as, in 2006, at No. 4 amongst British composers.
'Tlep', a large work influenced by Kazakhstan culture and written for Marat Bisengaliev and the West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall on Easter Monday 2006 and released by SonyBMG shortly after.
In recent years, Karl has been made both a Fellow and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, where a room has been named in his honour, and has been awarded fellowships at Cardiff University, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Trinity College Carmarthen, Swansea Institute and was presented by Classic FM with the 'Red f 'award for 'outstanding service to classical music'
He was awarded an OBE, by Her Majesty The Queen, in the 2005 New Years Honours List and in 2006 a Doctor of Music by the University of Wales.