About William Jenks
William Jenks is a rare talent from a new generation of classical guitarists. Not only is he a world class recording artist, sought out for performances and master classes around the globe—he is also founder and proprietor of Portland Classic Guitar and its renowned concert series. Jenks also recently accepted a position at Marylhurst University where he will be training classical guitar students working toward their Bachelor of Arts degree in music performance or music therapy, and also directing the Marylhurst Guitar Ensemble beginning in the fall of 2016.
Jenks began his musical career as a gifted singer, performing choral music at age six. As a youth he participated in a memorable Carnegie Hall performance of the Magnificat, under the celebrated composer and maestro John Rutter. After switching to guitar as a young man, Jenks would go on to record four widely-praised CDs, each supported by extensive touring. He gave a series of favorably received solo concerts in France, Germany, and Italy, and then became the first performer to play at the renovated Elgin Opera House, where, the Elgin Times noted, “he put on a tremendous show.”
Before long Jenks had established a strong presence on the festival circuit, with compelling performances at the Colorado Guitar Festival, the Portland Wine and Arts Festival, and the Festival Internacional de Guitarra in the Dominican Republic. The Boulder Colorado Classical Guitar Society, the Newport Performing Arts Center, Cycle Oregon, the local Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and the Fiuggi International Guitar Festival near Rome, Italy have all featured him. By popular demand, he also appears regularly in the Portland Classic Guitar Concert Series that he created more than twelve years ago.
Over the past few years, Jenks has focused much of his performance itinerary on the culturally rich region of Latin America. In 2014 he was invited by the Conservatorio Nacional De Musica (in the Dominican Republic) to perform Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major, and to judge a major classical guitar competition. He also performed numerous times in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and several places in Chile—including at the 15th annual Festival Entrecuerdas, an international guitar festival that lasts through the month of October. While in Chile, Jenks traveled the countryside, performing various concerts and teaching master classes.
Jenks is also the founder of Portland Classic Guitar, a teaching studio and guitar shop through which he directs the aforementioned performance series. Now in its twelfth season, the Portland Classic Guitar Concert Series is the only entity of its kind on the West Coast. Among the first featured performers was the renowned guitarist Ana Vidovic, who predicted that Jenks’s series would become “one of the most prestigious in the country”—a promise it has since fulfilled, as attested by a leading artist management company.
Jenks now presents ten concerts annually—often in tandem with master classes—and has earned a loyal following among professional musicians and casual music lovers alike. Most of these concerts sell out, and no wonder: past performers have included many legends of the guitar, some of who were visiting Portland for the first time. John Williams, David Russell, Eliot Fisk, and the Romeros—the latter drawing a record-breaking audience of 2300—have all performed for the Portland Classic Guitar Concert Series. But Jenks is equally supportive of the next generation of legends, presenting the US debuts of such artists as Dimirtris Kotronakis (from Greece), Gerard Abiton (from France), and Ruben Gonzales (from Cuba), as well as some of the best local up-and-coming guitar talent. This season Jenks has partnered Portland Classic Guitar with Portland’s 5 center for the performing arts where they will be presenting the Romero Quintet at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and two more equally impressive shows featuring Angel Romero and Eliot Fisk and Pablo Sainz Villegas at the Newmark Theatre.
In addition to performing, and stewarding the classical guitar series, Jenks is the brains behind the Portland Classic Guitar teaching studio, which since 2001 has provided invaluable instruction for hundreds of students of all ages and skill levels, many of whom have gone on to their own music careers. Indeed, Jenks is a much sought-after guitar instructor in the Portland area both through Marylhurst University and privately through Portland Classic Guitar. He also teaches master classes internationally—most recently to conservatory students at the Fiuggi International Guitar Festival, where he also judged the guitar competition. His approach has been informed by some of the best teachers in the world, including David Franzen, Bryan Johanson, Scott Kritzer, and Ken Johnson (with whom Jenks studied at Colorado Christian University, where he graduated magna cum laude). As a teacher, Jenks generously shares wisdom gained in the master classes of celebrated classical guitarists Christopher Parkening, Scott Tennant, Ricardo Iznaola, David Russell, Eliot Fisk, Angel Romero, Pepe Romero, and John Williams.
Jenks’s contributions to music were recently honored by a gorgeous classical guitar, built by renowned luthier Jeffrey Elliott and gifted to Jenks by an anonymous benefactor. In July 2015 Jenks also received an award from the Fiuggi International Guitar Festival, for his promotion of guitar music. Other recipients of this award have included the composer Leo Brouwer and the guitarist Eduardo Isaac.
You can learn more about William by visiting his website at williamjenks.com.
- "He put on a tremendous show, just himself along with his guitar. The music was soothing and entertaining, the venue, of course, unmatchable, and the crowd was very receptive to his style of performance." The Elgin Times
- " Happy to add your recording to the programming – the “el noi de la mare” and Canon were nice additions" John Pitman - All-Classical 89.9 FM