Born David Lloyd Jenkins, he was a US Navy pilot in WWII. After the war, he studied voice with Richard Bonelli at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
He had his first successes at the Tanglewood Festival in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and as Albert Herring (1949, US premiere). From 1950 to 1958, he sang at the New York City Opera, both main and comprimario parts: David (his debut role), Filipeto (I quattro rusteghi), Andres, Pedrillo, Male chorus (The rape of Lucretia), Alfred (Fledermaus), Pinkerton or the Prince in Cenerentola. He also appeared in St. Paul, Boston, New Orleans, Seattle, Washington, and at the Athens, Edinburgh and Glyndebourne festivals, eventually going far beyond his primary repertory and arriving at roles like Bacchus, Grigorij and German. In the 1960s, he sang in a number of TV opera productions.
The perhaps more important part of his activity, however, was on the concert podium, where he appeared with the Boston, Chicago and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, the New York Philharmonic or the Philadelphia Orchestra, and with conductors like Eugene Ormandy (a close personal friend of his), Leonard Bernstein, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Bruno Walter or Fritz Reiner.
In 1962, without retiring as a singer, he started out on a second career as a music administrator, and became the Artistic and eventually the General Director of the Lake George Opera Festival (through 1980), and later taught voice and headed the respective opera centers of several US universities.
Reference 1; reference 2 and picture source: New York Times, 12 February 2013; reference 3: Kutsch & Riemens