Rae Jenkins

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Rae Jenkins
Birth nameHenry Horatio Jenkins
Born19 April 1903
DiedMarch 29, 1985(1985-03-29) (aged 81)
GenresLight music

Rae Jenkins MBE FRAM, born Henry Horatio Jenkins[1] (19 April 1903[1] – 29 March 1985[2]) was a Welsh violinist and later conductor of light music, notably with the BBC Midland Light Orchestra (1942–1946),[3] the. Bbc variety Orchestra (1946–?), and as principal conductor of the BBC Welsh Orchestra (1950–1965).[4][5] In 1955 Hubert Clifford, Head of Music at the BBC, called Jenkins "the most gifted and experienced conductor of light music in the country".[6]

Jenkins was born at Ammanford in 1903,[4][7] the son of a coal miner.[3] Given a violin when four years old, he was first violin in his local theatre orchestra by the age of eleven.[3] He subsequently attended the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied viola under Lionel Tertis and conducting under Sir Henry Wood.[8]

He worked on radio programmes, including It's That Man Again (ITMA). He was also an authority on music of gypsy origin.[3]

He appeared as a "castaway" on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs on 6 September 1965.[9] He was a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM).

A portrait of Jenkins was painted by William Redgrave. A plaque in Ammanford Town Hall commemorates him. It reads:

In loving memory of

Rae Jenkins M.B.E. F.R.A.M.

1903–1985 Ammanford

born musician who devoted

his life to music

conductor of B.B.C. Midland, Variety and

Welsh Orchestras


  • Johns-Davies, Jayne Marilyn (2006). Rae Jenkins FRAM, MBE: the life story of Welsh conductor and musician 1903 to 1985.


  1. ^ a b Johns-Davies 2006, p. 7
  2. ^ Johns-Davies 2006, p. 28
  3. ^ a b c d "The Pit Boy at the BBC" (PDF). The Children's Newspaper. 20 April 1946. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b Griffiths, Rhidian. "Walters, Irwyn Ranald (1902–1992)". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  5. ^ "The BBC Midland Light Orchestra". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  6. ^ Johns-Davies 2006, pp. 22–3
  7. ^ Norman, Terry (14 January 2011). "Star the world forgot – twice". South Wales Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  8. ^ Johns-Davies 2006, p. 11
  9. ^ "Desert Island Discs – Castaway : Rae Jenkins". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved 27 July 2014.