In a pair of old photos outside the Academy's Library of the class of 1918, there are two black students – composer and multi-instrumentalist Edmund T Jenkins and mezzo-soprano Evelyn Dove. In this episode, Anna Picard explores who they were, how they both forged successful careers and what their stories tell us about ‘high’ and ‘low’ art at that moment in history. We bring Edmund and Evelyn's worlds to life with rare recordings of their music, and we hear from Edmund’s great-nephew, who is keeping his music alive for a new generation.

  • Presenter: Anna Picard
  • Producer: Natalie Steed
  • Contributors: Stephen Bourne, Melissa Doody, Julius P Williams, Allyson Devenish, Tuffus Zimbabwe
  • Executive Producers, Royal Academy of Music: George Chambers, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Safi Schlicht

Featured Music:

  • Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue performed by the Academy Symphony Orchestra with Edward Gardner and Adrian Brendel (piano)
  • Busse, Johnson and Mueller Wang Wang Blues performed by Jack Hylton’s Jazz Band (restored masters provided by Bear Family Records)
  • Spiritual arr Burleigh I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray performed by Evelyn Dove (restored masters provided by Bear Family Records)
  • Gershwin The Man I Love performed by Academy students Imogen Churchill (vocals), Toby Yapp (double bass), Scottie Thompson (piano)
  • Coleridge-Taylor Nonet performed by Royal Academy of Music Students
  • Jenkins arr T Zimbabwe Folk Rhapsody performed by Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra with Julius P Williams
  • Shields/Ragas Clarinet Marmalade performed by James Rees Europe’s 369th US Infantry ‘Hell Fighters’ Band
  • Jenkins arr Plush Charlestonia performed by Studio orchestra & Philip Brunelle (Conductor)
  • Jenkins arr Tuffus Zimbabwe Dance of Love performed by Tuffus Zimbabwe
  • Composer and composition unknown performed by Jenkins Orphanage Band
  • Kern The Bullfrog Patrol performed by Queen’s Dance Orchestra featuring Edmund T Jenkins (restored masters provided by Bear Family Records)
  • Spiritual arr Laurence Brown Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit performed by Evelyn Dove (restored masters provided by Bear Family Records)

About the Podcast

Since the Royal Academy of Music was founded in 1822, its aim has been to shape the future of music by discovering and nurturing talent wherever it exists.

To mark our bicentenary, we've created this podcast to celebrate and uncover some of the stories of those people, past and present, that resonate throughout our building and define the institution. You'll hear about those working and studying at the Academy today, some of the famous people that have passed through our doors as well as those whose musical lives might have been overlooked but deserve to be told.