Glenn Jenks


Glenn Jenks was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 9th, 1947. As a teen, he studied at the New England Conservatory with David DeLisle and went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in music from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.


In 1975, Jenks left his teaching position at a private school and decided to embark on a career as a solo performer of folk music and ragtime. During this time, he also started touring nationally with country music singer and humorist Jud Strunk, playing a wide variety of venues, including Las Vegas and the summer musical theater circuit where they were paired with distinguished acts as the Manhattan Transfer and Andy Williams.


By 1978, Jenks focused on a solo career and had his first recording debut a year later. He went on to produce nine other recordings for a variety of labels including Fretless, Stomp Off and his own Bonnie Banks Records. He was also producer of the popular Harvest Ragtime Review for eleven years.


As a performer, Jenks was known for his energetic playing, focusing mostly on traditional ragtime idioms. As a composer, he wrote wonderfully sensitive rags, sticking close to the traditional ragtime form, but blending in sophisticated contemporary harmonies. He wrote over 30 piano rags, a string quartet, a ragtime piano concerto and many non-ragtime compositions as well.


Jenks passed away in Maine on January 21st, 2016.


Selected Performances


Queen of Violets (1989): This wonderful piece represents a perfect example of contemporary ragtime lyricism. Jenks evokes a sense of yearning and sensitive reflection with his delicately crafted melodies. This is one of my favorite modern ragtime compositions.

The Alchemist (1991): The Alchemist, subtitled ‘A Ragtime Concoction,' is another lovely example of contemporary ragtime writing. I have to believe that Jenks had the classic ragtime composer Joseph Lamb in mind when he wrote this piece, as the pure poetry of the music bears more than a passing similarity.

Planxty - Jim Stewart (1993): A ‘Planxty’ is a musical tribute named after someone. It’s in the old Irish harper tradition and Jenks composed this tune in honor of his friend Jim Stewart. Jenks tells the story of a composer he knew that wrote a “Planxty - Jack Daniels” and sent it off to the distillery. A few weeks later, this composer found a case of Jack Daniels sitting on his doorstep, courtesy of the distillery.


Locating the Music


Jenks published a folio of his ragtime music called "A Garden of Ragtime" through Squanlake Music back in 1993, but it appears Squanlake is no longer in business. However, not all is lost! A brand new folio of Glenn Jenks' music was published by SMP Press in 2019 as digital download. Click here to purchase The Complete Ragtime Works for Piano. The piece Planxty is not included in the ragtime folio, but is available separately here.


List of Piano Compositions


Ragtime Compositions


Red Beard Rag (1972)

Sincerity Rag (1974)

The Florida Rag (1974)

Bachelor’s Two-Step (1974)

The Spice Box Rag (1974)

The Harbour Rag (1975)

A Ragtime Seabreeze (1975)

Pacific Coast Rag (1975)

The New Black Eagle Rag (1975)

The Black Preacher (1975)

The Exemplar (1976)

Roulette Rag (1977)

A Ragtime Trilogy (1984)

I. French Lace

II. Desperation Tango

III. The Ragtime Hurricane

The Ragtime Hermit Thrush (1986)

Elegiac Rag (1986)

The Wrong Rag (1987)

The Alchemist (1987)

Nutcrackers (1988)

Sosúa (1988)

Queen of Violets (1989)

Desdemona (1989)

Triskelion (1993)

I. The Old Pink Piano

II. Gymnoraggy

III. Too Many Beans

Sweet Harriet (1996)

Regularity Rag (1997)

Mount Olive (1999)

Urbana Fox Trot (2001)

Stolen Moments (2003)

A Breeze From Damariscotta (2004)

Spider in the Tub (2005)

Duffy (2014)

Pelican Rag (manuscript lost)


Solo Piano Non-Ragtime Compositions (composition dates unknown)


Three Irish Fantasies

I. Tir na n’Og

II. Lughnasa

III. Planxty - Jim Stewart

Waltzes

I. Moderately, with tentative affection

II. Lively, with some abandon

III. Wistfully, and with coyness

IV. Sweetly, and with brightness and grace

V. Very slowly and darkly

VI. Wonderfully

Cinco Danzones

I. Amiga Mia

II. Arrogancia

III. Paloma Blanca

IV. Promesas Rotas

V. No, Todavia, No

Lyric Suite

I. Prelude

II. Burlesca

III. Bagatelle

IV. Danza: Las Manos de mi Padre

V. Courante

VI. Barcarole