PNC Arts Alive Award for Arts Innovation 2018 Winner Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra

According to leading research and census data, the core orchestra audience is getting older faster than the general population and younger generations are not attending orchestra concerts at the same level as Baby Boomers. The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra was founded with a mission of making classical music more engaging and relevant for audiences. Its Founder, Jeri Lynne Johnson, decided to create a 21st century orchestra that fosters innovation, grants hands-on access to the music and embraces cultural diversity at every level.  Johnson keeps classical music relevant to people of color and young people by ensuring the orchestra looks like the community it serves and considerations of community engagement inform all of Black Pearl’s programming. Diversity, equity and inclusion are not special projects or current trends for Black Pearl; DEI is in its DNA and the orchestra exists to innovate.

Established within reach of three of the country’s great music schools—the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School and the Peabody Institute—Black Pearl has found that using world-class Latinx, White, Asian and African-American musicians on stage is the simplest and most effective way to create a connection between the orchestra and communities of color in Philadelphia and is a visible demonstration of the notion that classical music truly is for everyone.  This emphasis on authentic diversity, equity and inclusion strengthens the efficacy of Black Pearl’s “Inreach” philosophy of engagement whereby the community is given hands-on access to the orchestra—whether as a conductor (the iConduct! program) or as a player (the Citywide Side-by-Side program). These Knight Foundation Arts-Challenge Award-winning programs serve as open invitations from the orchestra and have helped Black Pearl achieve its objective of making classical music more approachable and accessible.

May 23, 2018 marks the 33rd annual Arts + Business Council Awards Celebration, a major moment for milestones. Together with you, our “Partners in Imagination,” we’ll be honoring the exceptional leaders, innovators, partnerships and volunteers below, who work to make our region culturally vibrant and economically strong. To purchase ticket packages and individual tickets, please click here.

Jeri Lynne Johnson

Click here to learn more about our Awards Celebration 2018 Winners.

Title Sponsor:

Award Sponsors:

Comcast Logo         Fisher Phillips Logo


PECO Logo      PNC Arts Alive Logo



Print Sponsor:

Arts Education Sponsor:

EY Logo

Design Sponsor:

Honoree Reception Sponsor:

HOK Logo

Media Sponsor:

Bar Sponsor:

Visionary Sponsor:




Leadership Sponsor:





Arts + Culture Partner:




Video Sponsor:


A Council of:

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia Logo