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Edmund Thornton Jenkins

(1894—1926) composer and jazz musician


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(1894–1926). African-American composer born in Charleston, South Carolina, where his father had recently founded an orphanage where vocational training included music. Jenkins abandoned his studies in Atlanta to play the clarinet with a band appearing at the Anglo-American Exhibition in London in 1914. The band's performance was a success, and Jenkins decided to remain in England after the band's return to the United States. He then enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy of Music. His studies included composition with Frederick Corder, a Wagner enthusiast. He taught the clarinet, and graduated in 1921. With Caribbean students in the Coterie of Friends, Jenkins mounted a concert in 1919 with himself conducting; four instrumentalists were from the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, an American group in Britain until 1921. They played his Charlestonia, an orchestral work with three black melodies, and works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

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From The Oxford Companion to Black British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.


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