Ronald J. Jenkins


A native of St. Louis, Ronald Jenkins has been conductor of the Columbus Symphony Chorus and Chamber Chorus since 1982. He conceived the idea for the CSO’s popular Holiday Pops concerts and has conducted those annual performances since their beginning in 1983. In 2010, he conducted the CSO’s first complete performances of Handel’s Messiah which were lauded for their “quick pacing and brisk tempos” and the chorus which “was superbly balanced and in tune and obviously well-rehearsed and confident.” He also prepared the chorus for their Carnegie Hall debut with the CSO in the spring of 2001 where the New York critics praised the “choral singing of impeccable realization and subtle shading.” 

This season he prepared the chorus for triumphant performances of Verdi’s Requiem under Rossen Milanov’s direction on October 28 and 29 and will prepare the chorus for performances of Mussorgsky’s “Coronation Scene” from Boris Gudunov and Tchaikovsky’s Hymn of the Cherubim, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 later in the season. Jenkins will also prepare the chorus and orchestra and conduct four performances of the 33rd annual Columbus favorite, "Holiday Pops" in December.

Jenkins has also been the Minister of Music and Liturgy of the 3,400 member First Community Church in Columbus, since 1973. In this position, he is responsible for two choirs, oversees a staff of musicians, produces the church's concert series, and coordinates worship/liturgy, art enrichment, and special celebrative events, including the annual fall services of music and the word, Soli Deo Gloria, the Festival of Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve, and the season concluding "MorningSong" all with choir and members of the CSO and CSC. He has directed the Chancel Choir on three European tours, at the National Cathedral in DC and the Chamber Singers in Naples, Florida. On the third European tour in June of 2013, he led the choir in concerts in Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Prague, and Salzburg gaining rave reviews for their performance of Mozart's "Missa Longa" with the Salzburg Cathedral orchestra. He has produced and directed eight recordings of the Chancel Choir and demonstrated his piano keyboard skills in a popular duo recording of Gospel Hymns with CSO trumpeter Tom Battenberg. 

He has served as the Assistant Choral Director at Washington University, visiting Choral Director at Denison and Ohio Wesleyan Universities, and led choral workshops for Trinity Seminary and various professional organizations. He holds degrees from William Jewell College and Florida State University. He has also done extensive post-graduate study at Washington University and studied conducting at the Tanglewood Music Festival. In 1985, he received the Columbus Dispatch Community Service Award for the Advancement of Culture. In May, 2015, he was granted the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity Seminary, Bexley, Ohio.