Conducting

 

Richard Jenkinson began to study 'cello at the age of five and was awarded a scholarship by Derbyshire County Council to study with Florence Hooton and William Pleeth. Whilst in the sixth form Richard began his conducting studies with Michael Salter at Repton School and put on a semi-staged performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury.  In 1990 he won a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he studied 'cello with Raphael Wallfisch and William Pleeth and conducting with Alan Hazeldine. He graduated with Distinction in 1994 and was also was awarded the Guildhall's coveted Gold Medal for a performance of the Dvorak Cello Concerto in the Barbican. He was invited to be part of the Countess of Munster recital scheme and this has led to a very productive partnership with the pianist Benjamin Frith including recitals at London's Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centres. His recordings include Martinu cello works, a solo 'cello disc and a recording for Koch Records. In May 2012 he joined the Dante String Quartet taking on the baton from the retiring Bernard Gregor-Smith. He has recorded Kodaly's string quartets for Hyperion and Matthew Taylor fourth quartet with the Dante's.

 

Richard's first orchestral job was as principal 'cello with the Irish chamber Orchestra in 1995 and in 1998 he was appointed principal 'cello with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and took part in Sir Simon Rattle's farewell tour. In 2001 he formed the Innovation Chamber Ensemble with CBSO colleagues and the group has broadcast on Radio3, Classic FM and performed at many important Festivals and venues including the Wigmore Hall in London. The ensemble has also been featured on BBC 4 and their first CD has been broadcast on Radio 3 and was Classic FM's CD of the week. They have made a new recording for Somm records of works by Wassenaer and a will record a disc of works by Edward Elgar this summer.



Recent conducting performances of ICE have included the chamber versions of Bruckner 7th Symphony (Deal & Birmingham), Strauss Metamorphosen, Mahler Das Lied von der Erde (Canterbury Cathedral) and Mahler's 4thSymphony (Buxton, Fishguard, Newbury and Petworth, Festivals, Birmingham and Shropshire). The group were invited back to Fishguard and Petworth Festivals for 2013 where they will perform Bruckner's 7th with works by Wagner and Poulenc's Organ Concerto.

 

Richard has been fortunate enough to have conducting guidance from Ilan Volkov, Simon Halsey and the CBSO's Music Director Andres Nelsons. 



In 2006 Richard was invited to become the conductor of the Nottingham based SaraBande who give 4/5 concerts per season in the East Midlands area with a special emphasis on late Romantic and 20th Century repertoire. In 2011 Richard was invited to become the conductor of the Orchestra of St John in Bromsgrove and became their Director of Music in 2012. The orchestra's first season of concerts had many highlights including Britten Les Illuminations, Mozart Requiem, Beethoven Eroica Symphony and Third Piano Concerto with Benjamin Frith. O.S.J.'s current season has included Faure Requiem, Haydn Symphony no. 99 and Mozart Clarinet Concerto with a series of festival concerts this July. The 2013 Festival culminates with performances of Schubert's Unfinished, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante (with Paul Barritt & Louise Williams) and Beethoven Symphony no.5

Richard has recently been appointed the Director of Music for the British Police Orchestra http://www.bpso.org.uk/and will be performing at Beacon Park - Lichfield, Hereford Cathedral and Symphony Hall - Birmingham in the Autumn of 2014. In June 2014 Richard conducted the Innovation Chamber Ensemble with soloist Mark Bebbington in recordings of piano concertos by Doreen Carwithen, Gordon Jacob and Malcolm Williamson for Somm Records.

 


Review: Orchestra of St John at St John's Church, Bromsgrove

Christopher Morley reviews Orchestra of St John at St John's Church in Bromsgrove.

Orchestra of St John at St John's Church, Bromsgrove
****

Our region is well-blessed with amateur orchestras, several of them playing to professional standards, and among the most recent is the Orchestra of St John, launched in Bromsgrove less than two years ago and already building a huge following. And loyalty from its players, too.

Several faces are familiar from the big boys (Birmingham Philharmonic and Chandos Symphony), but this is surely a tribute to the enthusiasm of musicians who are so keen to perform - and the catalyst here at OSJ is the desire to respond to the musicianship of conductor Richard Jenkinson.

As front-desk cellist in the CBSO, Jenkinson has observed some of the world's greatest conductors from the closest of quarters, but his conducting technique is all his own. The great Finnish conducting teacher Jorma Panula (Oramo and Salonen among his pupils) would surely approve, his tenet being "find your own way". And Jenkinson's way is to crouch, leap, sway and swoon; a distraction perhaps to the audience, but all the work has been done in rehearsal, which his players adore.

Sunday's programme, the climax of a weekend festival, programmed three orchestral biggies, beginning with Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. This was a Germanically dark interpretation, conveyed by rich, well-defined strings, sonorous, well-rounded brass (how good to have experienced blowers to temper any noisy wannabes), and well-balanced woodwind chording.

Mozart's wonderful Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola was remarkable for the alert listening of the orchestra as it accompanied the soloists (Paul Barritt and Louise Williams) through this tremendous score. Jenkinson's opening movement stressed the majesty rather than the feathery etherealness, but throughout the work musicality flowed through and through.

The soloists were well-blended and efficient, Barritt delivering a sweet tone, Williams spectacularly mellow on her 400-year-old viola.

Then came the test for any orchestra, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Jenkinson hurled the opening into the cosmos (one way of doing it), but there were subsequent imprecisions of ensemble, and indeed a few false entries.

There were probably more at the premiere in 1808. What cannot be denied was the passion from all concerned in this performance, and whatever its faults, it brought this masterpiece alive again to at least one old listener.

Birmingham Post (April 2012) - Christopher Morley

'Richard Jenkinson conducted with his customary infectious enthusiasm...Earlier we had been given an Elgar Serenade for Strings of exquisite fragility,  with some natural, eloquent 'portamenti', and a stunning reading of Britten's  Rimbaud song-cycle 'Les Illuminations', Jenkinson's expertly-trained players  relishing this compendium of Britten's highly personal string-orchestra style.'

St Peter's Church
Peter Palmer

'...A master builder was still needed. Director Richard Jenkinson threw himself into his task whole-heartedly, with often impressive results.'