Jenkins, who began playing violin at age 7, blended the lines between jazz and classical music, The New York Times said.
In 1964, he joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, a co-op of jazz musicians who followed the structural advances of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and others who expanded traditional jazz. He took the organization's philosophy to Europe, founding the Creative Construction Company with jazz musicians Anthony Braxton, Steve McCall and Leo Smith.
In the mid-1970s, Jenkins became a bandleader wrote music for classical ensembles, the Times said. He led the group Sting, making a series of his own records for the Italian label Black Saint. He also began to work in more classical situations, both in performing and composing.
Eventually Jenkins collaborated with choreographers, writers and video artists. In recent years, he returned to smaller music-only projects, the newspaper reported.
Jenkins, who died Friday, is survived by his wife, a daughter, as sister and a half-sister.