Composer, conductor and organist Roy Jennings is currently the Minister of Music at the Bronx Baptist Church. Formerly the Assistant Minister of Music at Aby, Roy continues to serve in the capacity of music ministry as needed, and has been an integral part of the music staff since 1991. He is presently engaged as performance in the post-graduate studies program at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.
Upon completion of his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music, Roy Jennings embarked on a decade of study with pianist Kurt Appelbaum with a concentration on the Viennese classics, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. During this time, he became pianist and assistant to Edward Boatner with whom he studied choral conducting and arrangement with a concentration on the African-American Spiritual. Mr. Jennings was also assistant to George Hall with whom he studied organ and counterpoint while apprenticing at His Holy Name Church, in Manhattan, New York.
As a pianist, Mr. Jennings has engaged in a wide spectrum of activities including 5 seasons as a pianist with the Chelsea Ensemble Chamber Music group, solo pianist in the Oxford University Press album of piano music by Valerie Capers, accompanist for the United Negro College Fund Choir, as well as numerous solo artist in the Metropolitan area. Mr. Jennings made his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1991.
Appearances at symposia and conferences as performer and lecturer on behalf of the Music of African-American composers and arrangers of spirituals has afforded Mr. Jennings the opportunity to advocate on behalf of this literature’s inclusion in the canon of American concert repertoire. His recent appearances have been at Queens College for a solo Master class and a number at choral practice and performance sessions and before the Amistad Commission of New Jersey.
As choral conductor and through his work at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Roy Jennings has presented and collaborated with two of the giants in the field of choral setting of African-American spirituals, Roland Carter (2005) and the late composer/pianist Moses Hogan (2002). The Forever-Amen choral during its’ 15 year history at the Abyssinian Baptist Church united with choral singers from across the country in the performance and presentation this literature, from Edward Boatner to Joseph Joubert.
Roy Jennings has arranged hymns and spirituals for solo voice and piano. These compositions have been performed by an array of solo artist including Joan Faye Donovan, Andrea Powe, Terry, Camille Johnson, Priscilla Baskerville, and Eddie Pierce-Young among many others. Mr. Jennings’ song cycle, Dream Trilogy and Wake-Up Call, was premiered at the Graduate Center in 2009 the contralto, Yvonne Hatchett.
Mr. Jennings is the artistic director of Arch Angel, a production company using performance education and publishing to promote African-American concert music. Roy resides in Teaneck, New Jersey.