The Cleveland Orchestra Honors Chris Jenkins with Award

Oberlin's associate dean receives 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service in the Arts Award

January 25, 2024

Cathy Partlow Strauss ’84

Chris Jenkins is pictured on the Severance Hall concert stage with four people gathered for the award presentation
Jenkins (second from left) receives award at Severance Hall in Cleveland.
Photo credit: Roger Mastroianni

Christopher Jenkins, associate dean at Oberlin Conservatory, was honored with a 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service in the Arts Award by The Cleveland Orchestra this month. For 20 years, The Cleveland Orchestra has honored individuals and organizations for their extraordinary service to Greater Cleveland, recognizing those whose work has a positive impact on music and the arts in the community, reflecting the spirit, example, and teachings of Dr. King. 

In presenting the award, the orchestra cited Jenkins' recent book and his ability to use music as a conduit for meaningful change, through his work at Oberlin and The Music Settlement in Cleveland. 

In Jenkins published monograph, "Assimilation v. Integration in Music Education: Leading Change Toward Greater Equity (Routledge Press & the College Music Society), he argues: “We actually have to change our institutions—to change not just the repertoire, but also how we think about making music, to include other traditions, harmonic and melodic languages, and ways of approaching music.”

At the Music Settlement school, Jenkins oversees musical community engagement, fostering "deep relationships with local churches and other neighborhood gathering spaces, engaging communities of color in free music concerts across the Greater Cleveland area," said one nomination.”

The tireless Jenkins is also in the midst of completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Cleveland Institute of Music and a PhD in musicology at Case Western Reserve University.

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