The Ann Hobson Pilot Award

The Ann Hobson Pilot Award is presented to an outstanding alum of the Lyra Society who completes a degree in music, demonstrates excellence in harp musicianship, pursues a professional career as a harpist, and champions cultural equity through music education.  Dedicated to Ann Hobson Pilot, the award honors Ms. Pilot’s artistry and professional accomplishments, her contributions in advancing harp education and the legacy of harp music, her grace and dignity in challenging racism and discrimination, and her role in increasing diverse representation among orchestra musicians.

Inspired by Ms. Pilot, Elizabeth Hainen established the Ann Hobson Pilot Award in 2023 for the Lyra Society which fosters music education through harp lessons, providing harps and lessons at no cost to under-resourced students in Philadelphia schools.  The winner of the Ann Hobson Pilot Award, is awarded a Lyon & Healy concert grand harp, provided by generous gifts from Lyon & Healy Harps, Inc. and Joslyn G. Ewart, Founding Principal of Entrust Financial. Ms. Ewart’s firm, Entrust Financial, is committed to improving and supporting communities—particularly through the arts—and is honored to support the Ann Hobson Pilot Award.

“The Lyra Society opens doors to diversity in the harp world.  The tireless work of Elizabeth Hainen and her staff embody this important change.  I am honored by the recognition that this award represents and proud to be part of the Lyra family.”

Ann Hobson Pilot, about the establishment of the award

About Links

About Ann Hobson Pilot

Ann Hobson Pilot is an internationally renowned classical harpist, now retired from the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras.  As an African American woman in the classical music world, she broke barriers of both race and gender; and she is devoted to expanding access to musical training for underserved students and to raising awareness about issues of diversity and inclusion of underrepresented musicians in orchestras.  She was born in Philadelphia and is a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls and of the Cleveland Institute of Music where she was a student of Alice Chalifoux. In 1966, she was hired by the National Symphony (Washington, D.C.) as Principal Harpist, making her the first Black Principal (for any instrument) in an American orchestra.  She joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1969 and was named Principal Harp in 1980.

An international soloist, Ms. Pilot has performed with orchestras in Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, and Argentina as well as with many American orchestras.  Committed to harp education, she recently retired from the faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University and stepped down as Director of Boston University-Tanglewood Institute’s Young Artists Harp Program.   Among her many honors, she has received the Gold Baton from the League of American Orchestras and three honorary doctorates including one from the Cleveland Institute of Music, her alma mater.  In a PBS documentary (A Harpist’s Legacy:  Ann Hobson Pilot and the Sound of Change), the full impact of Ms. Pilot’s legacy is affirmed by her students and celebrated by James Levine, Yo-Yo Ma, and John Williams.  Paying homage to her artistry, Maestro Williams composed a harp concerto for her when she retired from the Boston Symphony Orchestra (“On Willows and Birches”) saying that “it was a privilege to be asked,” and describing her as “a magician in the harp world.”

Ann Hobson Pilot Award Winners

Medgina Maitre is the 2023 recipient of the inaugural Ann Hobson Pilot Award in recognition of her demonstrated excellence to harp musicianship and performance.  She began her harp education in Lyra’s Glissando program in 2014 at the Philadelphia High School for Girls. With the encouragement and support of her Teaching Artist Elizabeth Steiner, who taught her from ninth grade until her graduation in 2018, Medgina welcomed the opportunity for private lessons with Elizabeth Hainen, Principal Harpist of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Founder and Artistic Director of the Lyra Society. Medgina was accepted to the harp programs of the Peabody School of Music and the Boyer School of Music at Temple University. She chose Temple, where she became a student of Ms. Hainen.

About the 2023 Sponsors

Lyon & Healy artisans have maintained a commitment to a practice of old-world craftsmanship while embracing new-world innovations for more than 130 years.  Since building its first harp in 1889, Lyon & Healy has ensured that care, precision, and pride go into the building of each harp and that modern technology is utilized to refine parts of the instrument in greater detail and efficiency.  The name Lyon & Healy equates to superiority and ingenuity in harpmaking as defined by harpists worldwide.

Joslyn G. Ewart is the Founding Principal of Entrust Financial, a women-owned independent investment firm.  In her words, “Higher education is fundamental, and women must be afforded the opportunity to cultivate their talents and intellect.”  Among her commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion for women, as well as underrepresented groups, is the My Best Teacher Scholarship Fund she endowed at Temple University.   Inspired by her two decades as a classroom music teacher for the School District of Philadelphia, her generosity helps remove financial obstacles for students of all backgrounds as they prepare for fulfilling careers. Her scholarship fund provides full tuition for music majors with financial need.  Ms. Ewart is the author of “Balancing Act:  Wealth Management Straight Talk for Women,” and contributes all proceeds of her book to My Best Teacher Scholarship Fund.

Lyra Society Affiliates

Elizabeth Hainen is the Principal Harpist of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Founder and Artistic Director of the Lyra Society.  She is recognized for her virtuosity as a harpist, her influence in major commissioning projects, and her prominence as a harp pedagogue.  She has also earned an international reputation as one of classical music’s great harp ambassadors.  The Lyra Society, which she founded in 2006, has provided outreach to hundreds of students in Philadelphia who otherwise would not have had access to music education through harp lessons.  In addition to her position as Principal Harpist of The Philadelphia Orchestra, she has appeared as a soloist in Australia, Asia, Europe, Mexico, South America, and Canada as well as in recitals at Carnegie Hall and in other American cities.  Her commissioning projects include works by Pulitzer Prize winners Bernard Rands and Melinda Wagner.  Ms. Hainen is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music where she was a student of Susann McDonald.  Among her numerous awards are Silver Medalist of the first USA International Harp Competition.  She serves on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Boyer School of Music at Temple University.

Elizabeth Steiner is a professional harpist and Teaching Artist for the Lyra Society.  Her career includes teaching positions for the Settlement Music School and Project 440.  She has also served as Director of Education and Executive Director of the Lyra Society.  Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion for musicians, she also was a LEAD (Leaders in Excellence, Arts & Diversity) Fellow with the Sphinx Organization whose mission is dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.  Ms. Steiner earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Harp Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master’s degree in Music Performance from Temple University.