Jeri Lynne Johnson is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra. She founded Black Pearl in 2008 and in its brief time, the BPCO has garnered critical acclaim and prestigious awards from the Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Maestro Johnson has led orchestras around the world and has been featured in numerous media including NBC's Today show and NPR's Tavis Smiley show.
A graduate of Wellesley College, Ms. Johnson began conducting while completing a Master’s Degree in music theory and history at the University of Chicago and in 1998 she won the Jorge Mester Conducting Scholarship to attend the Aspen Music Festival. Since then, her conducting teachers and mentors have included Sir Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, and John Harbison. 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.
Ms. Johnson’s conducting engagements have included orchestras around the world including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Chicago Sinfonietta, Bournemouth Symphony (UK) and the Weimar Staatskapelle (Germany). Her conducting repertoire is unusually broad and has led her to performances of premieres of leading classical composers as well as a ground-breaking collaboration at Carnegie Hall with rapper Jay Z, singer/songwriter Alicia Keys, and hip hop band The Roots.