Director of Choral Activities, Professor and Chair of Conducting
Office: 3054 Moore
B.Mus., Wheaton College
M.Mus., Indiana Univ.
D.M.A., Univ. of Southern California
Grammy® Award-winning conductor Jerry Blackstone is director of choirs and chair of the conducting department at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance where he conducts the Chamber Choir, teaches conducting at the graduate level, and administers a choral program of 11 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. In 2006, the Chamber Choir performed by special invitation at the inaugural convention of the National Collegiate Choral Organization in San Antonio, and in 2003 the Chamber Choir presented three enthusiastically received performances in New York City at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). In addition to Blackstone’s choral conducting work at the University, he has led operatic productions with the University of Michigan Opera Theatre, including productions of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. For significant contributions to choral music in Michigan, he received the 2006 Maynard Klein Lifetime Achievement Award from the ACDA-Michigan chapter.
Blackstone is considered one of the country’s leading conducting teachers, and his students have received first place awards and been finalists in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions of the American Choral Directors Association biennial National Choral Conducting Awards competition. He has appeared as festival guest conductor and workshop presenter in 30 states as well as New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Guest appearances for 2012-13 include festivals and conference presentations in Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, Iowa, South Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Michigan.
In 2004, Blackstone was named conductor and music director of the University Musical Society Choral Union, a large community/university chorus that frequently appears with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and presents yearly performances of Handel’s Messiah and other major works for chorus and orchestra. In March 2008, he conducted the UMS Choral Union and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in a special performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Choirs prepared by Blackstone have appeared under the batons of Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi, Leonard Slatkin, John Adams, Helmuth Rilling, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Peter Oundjian, and Itzhak Perlman.
As conductor of the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club from 1988-2002, Blackstone led the ensemble in performances at ACDA national and division conventions and on extensive concert tours throughout Australia, Eastern and Central Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States. The recently released U-M Men’s Glee Club CD, I have had singing, is a retrospective of his tenure as conductor of the ensemble.
Santa Barbara Music Publishing distributes Blackstone’s acclaimed educational video, Working with Male Voices, and publishes the Jerry Blackstone Choral Series, a set of choral publications that presents works by several composers in a variety of musical styles.
Prior to coming to the University of Michigan in 1988, Blackstone served on the music faculties of Phillips University in Oklahoma, Westmont College in California, and Huntington College in Indiana. He holds degrees from the University of Southern California, Indiana University, and Wheaton College.
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