Jeri Lynn Johnson

Jeri Lynn Johnson is the founder of the Black Pearl orchestra. — file photo

Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Jeri Lynne Johnson, will open the summer season at the Dell Music Center with a "Classical Gems" concert, taking place Saturday, June 27 at 7 p.m.

After a successful performance at The Dell last summer, Black Pearl, which became a part of Philadelphia's exciting musical landscape in 2007, returns with some of the region's most talented young musicians, featuring emerging artists from Settlement Music School's Trowbridge Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Sinfonia, Temple Music Prep and the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. 

Black Pearl also welcomes guest artist Abigail Hong, winner of the 2015 PHL Live Classical Competition. The young violinist will be the featured soloist for Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor. Sponsored by Councilman David Oh's office, PHL Live is a competition that showcases the next generation of talented Philadelphia performers in all musical genres "from hip-hop to classical, and from jazz to rock n' roll."

"We are thrilled to be able to once again welcome this exciting and trend-setting musical and cultural icon to the Dell," said Susan Slawson, first deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, which manages the venue. "This is a tremendous opportunity to provide Philadelphia music lovers with a direct appreciation of some of the world's most popular classical compositions."

The program will include:

Sibelius: "Finlandia, Op. 26"

Mendelssohn: "Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64" (featuring guest violinist Abigail Hong)

Grieg: "Peer Gynt Suite No 1, Op. 46"

Dvorak: "Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95/B 178 'From the New World'"

Maestro Johnson, who specifically chose music to appeal to audiences who are long-time lovers of classical music, as well as newcomers to the art form, said in a statement, "The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra and I look forward to welcoming the entire Philadelphia community once again to another exciting concert as we help Philadelphia Parks and Recreation effect the historic return of classical music to East Fairmount Park. As the nation's most diverse professional orchestra, I see Black Pearl's concerts at the Dell as the evolution of Eugene Ormandy's Robin Hood Dell Orchestra concerts of the '30s and '40s. Now, the Dell Music Center has been beautifully renovated and this concert is specifically designed to welcome everyone and anyone who loves music to experience this Philadelphia treasure." 

The Dell Music Center is located at Ridge Avenue and Huntingdon Drive. For tickets call the box office (215) 685-9560 or visit

Contact staff writer Kimberly C. Roberts at (215) 893-5753 or

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