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Jeri Lynne Johnson - Founder, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra

“It’s extremely important that any kind of arts non-profit – whether it’s an orchestra, or an art gallery, or maybe a dance company or a theater – that they run their business like a business,” Johnson asserted. “Non-profit is a tax designation, not a business model.”

Jeri Lynn Johnson received her doctorate in Music Theory and History from the University of Chicago and while there began conducting. She was the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia’s assistant conductor from 2000-2004. The Today Show on NBC named Johnson one of today’s leading women conductors, and in 2005, Johnson made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win an international conducting prize, the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship. Following her conducting success, Johnson founded the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra in 2007, the first and only professional orchestra in Philadelphia to champion ethnic diversity. She remains the orchestra’s music director.