Karl Jenkins and his digital piano

In a 2013 interview with Karl Jenkins, he mentioned the fact that he could write his music anywhere as long as he had his digital piano with him. It is really marvellous (and somewhat unexpected) to see the greatest classical composers today using electric pianos as one of their main composition tools.

Jenkins’ Works

Karl Jenkins

Jenkins was brought to public light after the release of his astounding Adiemus compositions, recorded in 1994. He then went on to release a whole range of other immensely successful compositions including his Armed Man (premiered 2000), Stabat Mater (2008), and Palladio (2005). When you listen to Jenkins’ work, a trained ear can detect the composition methods (for example the use of the electronic piano) as they are reflected in numerous aspects of his music.

Jenkins’ Choirs

Jenkins works with choirs around the world and has used the likes of the Excelsis Choir and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britian. Choirs like these also rely heavily on digital and portable pianos for training purposes. The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (one of the main choirs used by Jenkins) use schools across the country to run their choir courses from, and because most schools don’t have enough analogue pianos for training purposes, digital and electric pianos are brought in. Features such as transpose buttons and metronomes (which can be found on most good quality digital pianos, for example the Chase P-40) are also considered to be incredibly useful for training and practising purposes.

I was lucky enough to perform the Armed Man in the Royal Festival Hall, conducted by Jenkins, on my 18th birthday (a birthday I will never forget!!). Throughout the entire two day rehearsal process, digital pianos were used as an aid. Although people rarely associate the electronic piano with classical music composition, Jenkins is a superb example of how unbelievably useful they can be in today’s classical music composition. If you’ve never heard any of his works, I thoroughly recommend you have a listen – it’s top notch contemporary composition and some of the lyrics are outstanding (although often very morbid)!

 

Silent, so silent now,
Now the guns have stopped.
I have survived all,
I who knew I would not.
But now you are not here.
I shall go home alone;
And must try to live life as before
And hide my grief.
For you, my dearest friend,
who should be with me now,
Not cold too soon,
And in your grave,
Alone.

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