Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra Presents "The Black Mozart" 8 PM March 10, Philadelphia Cathedral

[Jeri Lynne Johnson, Conductor; Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Violin]

Influential composer of African descent in the court of Louis XVI inspires a night of Classical favorites

Philadelphia, PA. The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra (BPCO), the region's only ensemble to champion ethnic diversity in classical music, is pleased to present "The Black Mozart" as the second concert of its 2011-12 concert season. The program is inspired by the first prominent composer of African descent in European Classical music, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George. Music Director, Jeri Lynne Johnson, will lead a program featuring works by Boulogne, Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, and Haydn's "Trauer" Symphony. Soloists Kelly Hall-Tompkins (violin) and Robin Fay Massie (viola) will perform the Mozart as soloists. Both African-American women, the two soloists will join Director Jeri Lynne Johnson in the first performance of this piece featuring three women of color

The concert will be held on March 10, 2012 at 8:00pm at the Philadelphia Cathedral located at 3723 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Tickets range from $10-$35 and can be purchased online at or by calling the BPCO office at 215-717-7103. Or by email:

2011-12 Concert Season

The Black Mozart
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
38th and Chestnut Streets - Philadelphia
Repertoire: Chevalier, Mozart, Haydn

About The Concert
"The Black Mozart"
The BPCO's mission of expanding classical music audiences across ethnic boundaries will be brought to life through the music of Le Chevalier de Saint-George (1745-1799), one of the earliest prominent musical figures of African descent in European Classical music. The son of a French nobleman and an African slave, Boulogne quickly rose to fame in French society through his talents as a violinist, composer and swordsman. As he matured, Boulogne founded and conducted various orchestras and gained prominence through his masterful compositions, placing him in direct comparison with musical colleagues of the time, etching his place in history as "The Black Mozart." A favorite in the court of Marie Antoinette, he conducted the premieres of Haydn's 6 "Paris Symphonies." The diverse and talented musicians of the BPCO will celebrate Le Chevalier's legacy with a performance of his Second Symphony, Op. 11: no 2 in D major, "L'amant anonyme Overture."

The program will also feature the immense talent of two of the BPCO's leading musicians. Co-concertmaster and violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins will join co-principle violist, Robin Fay Massie in Mozart's masterful Sinonia concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat major, K 364. Both African-American women, the two soloists will join Director Jeri Lynne Johnson in the first performance of this piece featuring three women of color. After an intermission, Maestra Johnson will then lead the evening to a brilliant finish with Haydn's Symphony no 44 in E minor, "Trauer."

BPCO Presents "The Black Mozart"

Concert Program:

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint Georges (1745-1799)

Symphony No. 2, op. 11, no. 2 in D major

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Sinfonia concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 364
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin
Robin Fay Massie, viola

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Symphony No. 44 in E minor, "Trauer"

When: March 10, 2012- 8:00pm

Where: Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral - 3723 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA

General Admission: $25
Preferred Seating: $35
Senior (60 and over): $10
Student: $10

Tickets available online at or by phone (215) 717-7103
For more info, contact Julia Rubio (215) 717-7103 or

About Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra

Based in Philadelphia, the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra was founded in 2007 and is the only professional orchestra in the region, and one of few in the country, to champion ethnic diversity in classical music. 

Founded by award-winning Music Director Jeri Lynne Johnson, one of the only African-American women conductors on the scene today, the BPCO is dedicated to normalizing minority participation in classical music. This mission is achieved by presenting concerts and innovative community programs of the highest artistic and educational standard, performed by ethnically diverse musicians who represent Philadelphia's rich cultural diversity. 

Described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "excellent," and having an "impressive standard of performance," BPCO musicians were trained at many of the nation's leading music conservatories, including The Juilliard School, The Curtis Institute, and The Eastman School of Music, among others. 

About the Music Director

Jeri Lynne Johnson is the Founding Music Director of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra (BPCO). Maestra Johnson began conducting during her doctoral studies in music theory and history at the University of Chicago. While a student in Chicago, Ms. Johnson was awarded the 1998 Jorge Mester Conducting Scholarship to attend the Aspen Music Festival. Since then her conducting teachers and mentors have included Sir Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop and Daniel Barenboim among others. Soon after, Ms. Johnson was engaged by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia as its Assistant Conductor from 2000-2004. 

A recipient of many civic, community and artistic honors, including a 2010 British American ProjectFellow, 2010 Philly 360Creative Ambassador by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation, and a 2009 Leeway Transformation Award, Ms. Johnson has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers as well as television and radio shows including 20/20 and the "Tavis Smiley Show" on NPR and was heralded as one of today's leading women conductors on the NBC Today Show alongside prominent woman conductors Marin Alsop and Joann Falletta. 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.  [Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) is featured at]

Comment by email:

Dear Bill, Just saw the blog posting for our upcoming concert in March. Once again I want to thank you for spreading the word about Black Pearl and also for all the work you and Dr. de Lerma have done to promote the work of people of color in classical music throughout history as well as today!  Best, Jeri [Jeri Lynne Johnson]

No comments: