Jessica Blackwell, co-concertmaster of the NPO, studied at The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where she received a Graduate Performance Diploma in 2009 and a Master’s in Performance/Pedagogy in 2008. She was a student of Pamela Frank and studied string pedagogy with Rebecca Henry. Blackwell received her B.M. in Performance in 2006 at Rice University, where she studied with Sergiu Luca.
Blackwell joined the Nashville Symphony in 2009. She has played with several orchestras including New World, Baltimore, San Antonio, Annapolis and the Symphony of Southeast Texas, where she served as acting concertmaster. While at The Peabody Conservatory, she performed as principal second of the Peabody Symphony under Maestro Jaime Laredo at the Kennedy Center, and also had the privilege of performing as concertmaster under Maestro Leon Fleischer.
In Nashville, Blackwell serves as a co-concertmaster for the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and the Nashville Philharmonic, and is a frequent guest performer with ALIAS Chamber Ensemble. Solo engagements include the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with members of the St. Louis Symphony, a performance of the Harrison Violin Concerto at Rice University, as well as solo performances with the Nashville Philharmonic.
Music festivals Blackwell has participated in include Tanglewood Music Festival, where she served as a concertmaster in 2007 and 2008; Britten-Pears Programme in Aldeburgh, England; National Repertory Orchestra Festival; National Orchestral Institute; Bowdoin Music Festival; and ENCORE. She has been a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra for the past six summers.
Blackwell is a devoted supporter of music outreach. She co-founded the Shepherd School Medical Outreach Team while she was a student at Rice, and in Baltimore she participated in several programs that brought music lessons to underprivileged parts of the community. She is currently active in the Nashville Symphony’s Community Engagement program. Blackwell has been an artist-teacher of violin at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School since 2009.