Lyra Society’s Core Program

About Glissando!

Glissando! is the educational program of the Lyra Society. Established in 2007 by Elizabeth Hainen, Principal Harp of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Glissando! provides harps, harp lessons, harp presentations, and college and financial aid counseling in schools at no cost to Philadelphia and Bronx School District students who have minimal access to music education. Since its establishment, the program has reached over 3,700 young people through educational in-school harp presentations.

Glissando! is the leading model for harp programs in the world and the sole harp lesson provider for the Philadelphia School District. Because Lyra supports students through their developmental years and keeps in close contact with them as alums, our students have unmatched opportunities to connect with mentors and friends, develop confidence to define and reach their goals, and find their distinctive voices.

Video by Tolsma Productions

Additional Glissando! Perks:

College & Financial Aid Guidance – Lyra students receive college and financial aid guidance from Lyra’s College & Financial Aid Committee. 100% of our students attend college, university or conservatory. See our college acceptance list here.

All City Orchestra Program – Lyra holds mock auditions to select three to four students to play in All-City Orchestra. Students receive orchestral coaching and perform with the orchestra in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in March.

All City Orchestra Summer Academy – in partnership with The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Lyra provides orchestral programming for the summer for our harp students, free of charge.

Annual School Presentations – Lyra’s presentations expose thousands of students across the district to the harp and gauge interest for new prospective students for Lyra.

Ann Hobson Pilot Award – 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.

Glissando! by Numbers







Affiliated Schools

Central High School
Girard Academic Music Program
Julia R. Masterman School
Philadelphia High School for Girls
Theatre Arts Production Company School (partnership with Midori and Friends)

How Glissando! Works:

1. School Partnerships & Liaisons: Lyra partners with a school in Philadelphia or Bronx School District. Lyra assigns a teaching artist to the school who reaches out to school’s music teacher to schedule a presentation and an audition for students to join the Glissando! Program

2. Presentation & Audition Sign-Up: Lyra teaching artists/staff give presentation to students to gauge harp lesson interest and students sign up for our audition process with school’s music teacher.

3. Audition: Teaching artists hold an audition for the students. The audition includes a written essay on why they are interested in learning the harp and a mini-lesson with the teaching artist

4. Student Selection: Lyra selects students based on their interaction with the student and their written essay. Selected students are notified, a harp(s) are put into the school, and teachers work with students and music teachers to schedule lessons and additional programming!

Why the Harp?

Have you ever had the opportunity to sit behind a harp? When a child does, their posture straightens, matching the grace and elegance of the grand instrument. Lyra provides access to the mystical qualities of the harp and music education, which has been limited and historically reserved for the privileged.

Lyra is creating a diverse and inclusive community of harpists and music-lovers. With open arms and hearts, we welcome the unique talents of our promising young musicians, and empower them to enrich their lives and the lives they touch.

Glissando! Teaching Artists

Maryanne Meyer, Director of Education & Teaching Artist
Girard Academic Music Program & Masterman Middle & High School
About Maryanne

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Steiner, Teaching Artist
Philadelphia High School for Girls
About Lizzie

Medgina Maitre, Co-Teaching Artist
Central High School
About Medgina

Katie Ventura, Co-Teaching Artist
Central High School
About Katie

Helen Gerhold, Executive Director & Teaching Artist
All Schools
About Helen