Friday, November 4, 2016


Celebrating 2000 performances of 'The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace' by Karl Jenkins

"In a rapturous performance, by turns visceral and ethereal, the Mass was a firebomb of orchestral and human voices." - The Times

Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace is celebrating a remarkable 2000 performances, confirming its status as the most frequently programmed new classical work for choir and orchestra of recent decades. 

On 3 July Karl Jenkins conducted the landmark 2000th performance of The Armed Man at the Royal Albert Hall in London, in a concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Choral Society. As well as the hour-long original with full orchestra, the work is available in the composer’s version for ensemble, a choral suite with orchestra and full-length arrangements for concert band (Martin Ellerby) and brass band (Duncan Gibbs and Andrew Wainwright).

Commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum as part of the millennium celebrations, The Armed Man was given its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall on 15 April 2000 and rapidly entered the repertoire of choral groups worldwide. The work is now performed twice a week on average and The Armed Man CD has been a fixture of classical charts ever since it was released in 2001.

The work has been a feature of events held to commemorate the Centenary of ANZAC in Australia and New Zealand. Since 2014, the work has been performed more than 70 times across both countries, a testament to universal appeal of the work and it's ability to capture both the horror of war and the need for lasting peace. Performances have been held by schools, community organisations and local choirs, with each performance a chance for a new generation to reflect on the lasting legacy of the ANZAC spirit in Australia and New Zealand.

Karl Jenkins said, "When I started the latest phase of my career with Adiemus in 1995 and then The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace for the millennium, it was inconceivable, then, as to where this would lead. The Armed Man developed a core of supporters for a couple of years, but then burgeoned on a global scale. It is with incredible pride, and no small degree of disbelief and humility, that we celebrate the 2000th performance on July 3rd at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Choral Society and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra......The message of peace and tolerance, which I originally conceived in the wake of the war in Kosovo, has proved to be one that people find universal. Sadly, there are no fewer wars in the world today than when I wrote The Armed Man, yet I continue to hope that performances will inspire reflection and provide solace."  

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