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Peter Jenkin

Peter Jenkin

Principal Clarinet

Peter Jenkin holds the position of Principal Clarinet and Section Leader in the Opera Australia Orchestra.

One of Australia's most versatile clarinettists, Peter Jenkin began his professional career at nineteen when he became Principal Clarinet with the State Opera of South Australia. After completing a music degree at Adelaide University he continued his studies in London. He has performed with the London Sinfonietta, the Nash Ensemble, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and L'Orchestre de L'Opéra de Lyon. He has also been a guest Principal Clarinet with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions. Since 1985 he has been based in Sydney. An active advocate of new music Peter Jenkin was a co-founder of the Sydney Alpha Ensemble and is a member of the innovative austraLYSIS group.

In 1993 he toured Europe with the Alpha Centauri Ensemble under the direction of Roger Woodward performing Xenakis’s Échange for Solo Bass Clarinet and Ensemble culminating in a special homage to the work of Xenakis at La Scala Milan. In his capacity as a solo clarinettist he has given numerous premieres of both solo and ensemble works. These include works by Ross Edwards, Elena Kats-Chernin, Richard Vella, Daryl Runswick and Roger Dean.  In particular he has championed new Australian work. Peter has been involved with Music Theatre through Calculated Risks Opera Productions and has edited the music of Margaret Sutherland (Currency Press). Recordings of his work are available on the Tall Poppies, Etcetera and ABC Classics labels with his imaginative and diverse first solo CD A Day in the Life of a Clarinet (Tall Poppies) receiving considerable critical acclaim.

In 2002 he was appointed to the position of Opera Australia’s Principal Clarinet by Music Director Simone Young, a position he still currently occupies.  Additionally he is on the staff of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Fun fact: A great anecdote from Peter's time with the orchestra is when we were rehearsing a well-known Rossini opera.  The conductor made a point of insisting the wind section mark some dynamic and phrasing changes in their music parts. The orchestra dutifully picked up their pencils, and did as we were told except for one colleague who moved not a muscle.  Glaring at said person the demand was reiterated. Being the Committee President, and sensing trouble, Peter said that if that part were to be marked up we would have to send orchestra management to the library to get it as this particular player always played this work from memory!