Grammy-award winner Jerry Blackstone is a leading conductor and highly respected conducting pedagogue. Prof. Blackstone was a member of 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, oversaw the University’s eleven choirs, and upon retirement was named Professor Emeritus of Music (Conducting). 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 Songs of Innocence and of Experience. The Naxos recording of Milhaud's monumental L'Orestie d'Eschyle, on which Blackstone served as chorusmaster, was nominated for a 2015 Grammy award ("Best Opera Recording"). Opera Magazine reviewer Tim Ashley wrote: “The real stars, though, are the University of Michigan’s multiple Choirs, who are faced with what must be some of the most taxing choral writing in the entire operatic repertory. Their singing has tremendous authority and beauty, while the shouts and screams of Choéphores are unnerving in the extreme. Their diction is good too: the occasions when we don’t hear the words are Milhaud’s responsibility, rather than theirs. It’s an extraordinary achievement, and utterly mesmerizing.”
Choirs prepared by Blackstone have appeared under the batons of Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi, Leonard Slatkin, Hans Graf, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Adams, Helmuth Rilling, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Peter Oundjian, and Yitzak Perlman.
Professor 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 American Choral Directors Association's biennial National Choral Conducting Awards competition. As guest conductor and workshop presenter, he has appeared in forty-two states as well as Prague, Vienna, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Sicily.