Sir Karl Jenkins conducts World Orchestra for Peace at the world premiere performance of One World in Linz c. Oliver Erenyi

“His music is a gift to humanity.”

Sir Terry Waite

In addition to honouring Sir Karl with an historic Lifetime Signing deal, Decca also releases a new collection of his most popular pieces on 16 February

Decca Records proudly announces an extraordinary tribute to the world-renowned composer Sir Karl Jenkins to mark his 80th birthday on 17 February 2024. Recognising the emotional power of his music for global audiences and the enduring impact of his recordings – which have amassed more than 1.2billion streams and 17 gold and platinum albums – Decca has bestowed upon Sir Karl Jenkins the unprecedented distinction of a Lifetime deal. This is the first time the legendary classical music label has made such a commitment to any artist.

Co-President of Decca, Tom Lewis, says: “Sir Karl Jenkins is one of the great innovators in British music. His first ever commercial recording in 1967 was on Decca’s DERAM imprint. Fifty-seven years later, we have created an historic agreement for him to stay with Decca for as long as he wants to keep recording. From his pioneering jazz and jazz-rock with Graham Collier, Nucleus and Soft Machine (the latter two soundtracking my university life!), through the extraordinary success of ‘Adiemus’ and then his classical compositions and most recently, his work for the coronation of King Charles III, he has never stood still. He has provided the world with extraordinary, original and beautiful music. It is a great honour and also enormous fun to work with him.”

Helen Rogers, Executive Producer & A&R Manager, Decca, adds “Sir Karl redefined the classical genre with his pioneering ‘Adiemus’. Thirty years on, his extraordinary music continues to thrill and move global audiences of all generations and we can’t wait to uncover even more unimaginable potential of his extensive catalogue and new works to come.”

Sir Karl Jenkins expressed his gratitude for the Lifetime Signing, stating, “I am deeply honoured and humbled by this remarkable gesture from Decca. Music has the power to unite and inspire, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue sharing my work with audiences around the world. This collaboration is a testament to the enduring strength of music and its ability to connect people across cultures and generations.”

Decca took on Sir Karl’s extensive recording legacy in 2017, when the label signed him as an exclusive artist to conduct the benchmark recordings of his own works. Among them are AdiemusPalladio and his hugely popular The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, an album that has remained near the top of the UK Classical Chart for more than 18 years. 

His most recent album, One World, a recording of his latest large-scale choral work commissioned and performed by the World Orchestra for Peace, with soprano Lucy Crowe, mezzo-soprano Kathyrn Rudge and baritone Roderick Williams, reached Number One in the UK Classical chart in 2023.

As part of the celebration, Decca Records releases a new 2CD collection of some of his most popular works on 16 February 2024. The Very Best of Karl Jenkins: 80th Birthday Edition includes music from best-selling recordings AdiemusThe Armed Man, Requiem, Gloria, Stabat Mater, Palladio and One World as well as a very special spoken-word piece from the composer himself.

Sir Karl’s 80th birthday year continues with an array of celebratory events that showcase the lasting impact of his evocative, memorable and emotionally powerful music on music lovers around the globe. Among the imminent highlights in Sir Karl’s 80th Birthday year is a week of special programmes on BBC Radio 3’s much-loved Composer of the Week [12-16 February], special programming on Marquee TV, Sky Arts and Classic FM, the UK premiere of his new Saxophone Concerto, Stravaganza, for Jess Gillam [29 February] and a major UK tour [10 March – 14 April].