Jeri Lynne Johnson

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Jeri Lynne Johnson
Jeri Lynne Johnson - Flickr - Knight Foundation.jpg

Jeri Lynne Johnson is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, a professional orchestra in Philadelphia.

Maestra Johnson is a graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Chicago, and is an accomplished conductor, composer and pianist. From 2001-2004, she was the assistant conductor of The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia,[1] where she dedicated herself to bringing inspiring new music to the stage. She has led orchestras around the world including the Colorado Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony (UK), the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Weimar Staatskapelle (Germany). Alongside prominent woman conductors Marin Alsop and JoAnn Falletta, Ms. Johnson was heralded on the NBC Today Show as one of the nation’s leading female conductors. In 2005, Ms. Johnson made history as the first African-American woman to win an international conducting prize when she was awarded the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship.

In 2008 she established the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra in Philadelphia with some of the top musicians in the country from diverse cultures and nationalities as a model for the 21st-century American orchestra. The orchestra's mission is to "take the audience beyond spectatorship to participation in the musical experience by combining artistic excellence with cultural diversity and innovative community engagement. Through Black Pearl, she pioneered a fresh new approach to community engagement that has been imitated and adopted by orchestras across the country. The world-class quality of her concert performances have earned Black Pearl numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. And her innovative community engagement programs have made Black Pearl the only organization in the nation ever to win three prestigious Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grants.


  1. ^ Sisters in the Spotlight. Ebony. March 2003. Retrieved 18 May 2010.

2. q&a: jeri lynne johnson of black pearl chamber orchestra. Flying Kite. Alaina Mabaso. February 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2018

3. Meet the Disruptor: Jeri Lynne Johnson Rana Fayez. The Philadelphia Citizen. May 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2018

4. How I Did It Orchestra Founder Jeri Lynne Johnson Breaks Racial Boundaries. Black Enterprise. May 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2018.