Jerry Blackstone

Director, Adult Choir Camp, Interlochen College of Creative Arts

Grammy Award winning conductor; Director of Choirs and Chair of the Conducting Department at the University of Michigan School of Music, retired

GRAMMY® Award winner Jerry Blackstone is a leading conductor and highly respected conducting pedagogue. He served on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance for thirty years where, as Director of Choirs, he led the graduate program in choral conducting and oversaw the University’s eleven choirs. In February 2006, he received two GRAMMY® Awards ("Best Choral Performance" and "Best Classical Album") as chorusmaster for the critically acclaimed Naxos recording of William Bolcom's monumental Songs of Innocence and of Experience. The recent Naxos recording of Milhaud's L'Orestie d'Eschyle, on which Blackstone served as chorusmaster, was nominated for a 2015 GRAMMY® Award ("Best Opera Recording"). The University of Michigan Chamber Choir, conducted by Dr. Blackstone, performed by special invitation at the inaugural convention in San Antonio of the National Collegiate Choral Organization and presented three enthusiastically received performances in New York City at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

In 2017, the National Collegiate Choral Organization presented him with its prestigious Lifetime Membership Award and, in 2006, for “significant contributions to choral music,” he received the ACDA-Michigan chapter’s Maynard Klein Lifetime Achievement Award. Blackstone conducted the U-M Men’s Glee Club from 1988-2002 and led the ensemble in appearances at the 1997 ACDA National Convention in San Diego, in multiple appearances at ACDA Central Division conventions, in four international tours, and in annual tours throughout the United States.

From 2003-2015, Blackstone served as conductor and music director of the University Musical Society (UMS) Choral Union, a large community/university chorus that frequently appears with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and the Ann Arbor Symphony and presents yearly performances of Handel's Messiah and other major works for chorus and orchestra. In 2008, he conducted the UMS Choral Union and the DSO in a special performance of the Bach, St. Matthew Passion. Choirs prepared by Blackstone have appeared under the batons of Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Leonard Slatkin, Hans Graf, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Adams, Helmuth Rilling, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Peter Oundjian, and Yitzak Perlman. 

Blackstone is considered one of the country's leading conducting teachers, and his students have been first place award winners and finalists in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions of ACDA's biennial National Choral Conducting Awards competition. His 2016 rehearsal techniques DVD, Did you hear that? (GIA Publications) deals with the conductor’s decision-making process during rehearsal.  Santa Barbara Music Publishing distributes his acclaimed educational DVD, Working with Male Voices and also publishes the Jerry Blackstone Choral Series.

Blackstone is an active festival guest conductor and workshop presenter and has appeared in forty-two states as well as New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Recent appearances include festivals and conference presentations in Australia, New Zealand, China, New York, Florida, New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Michigan. In the summer, Dr. Blackstone leads the Adult Choir Camp and the Choral Conducting Institute at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and is on the faculty of the Sicily Choral Institute.

Prior to coming to the University of Michigan in 1988, Dr. Blackstone served on the music faculties of Phillips University in Oklahoma, Westmont College in California, and Huntington University in Indiana. He holds degrees from the University of Southern California, Indiana University, and Wheaton College.