Ann Hobson Pilot
(Photo Credit: Michael Lutch)
Rachelle Schlosser writes:
New York, NY (February 28, 2017) – Esteemed musician Ann Hobson Pilot will receive the League of American Orchestras' highest honor, the Gold Baton, at the League's 72nd National Conference in Detroit, June 6-8, 2017. Pilot, who performed for 40 years with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (29 as principal harpist), is a renowned soloist, teacher, and mentor, and was the first African American woman to serve as a principal player in a major orchestra.
Pilot will be presented the award during the League's Opening Plenary, June 6, 4:00-5:30 p.m., at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.
"For over 50 years, Ann Hobson Pilot has been a trailblazer in the world of orchestras and classical music, said Jesse Rosen, League of American Orchestras President and CEO. "From her earliest years, she has been a compelling musical presence and an inspiration to colleagues, students, and audiences. We are proud to present her with the Gold Baton, the League's greatest honor, recognizing her immense impact on the orchestra field."
"Beyond being one of the world's greatest harpists and a role model and inspiration to many, Ann remains the epitome of kindness and elegance," said Mark Volpe, Managing Director, Boston Symphony Orchestra. "She left an indelible mark on the Boston Symphony, and her legacy is firmly intact. She is a most deserving recipient of the League's Gold Baton award."
Given annually since 1948 for distinguished service to America's orchestras, the Gold Baton recognizes individuals and institutions whose far-reaching contributions to the field serve to champion and advance the cause of orchestras and symphonic music throughout the country. Previous Gold Baton recipients include, among many others, Leonard Bernstein (1959); John D. Rockefeller, III (1963); Paul Mellon (1964); American Federation of Musicians (1965); The Ford Foundation (1966); Leopold Stokowski (1968); Arthur Fiedler (1976); Aaron Copland (1978); Beverly Sills (1980); Isaac Stern (1987); Carnegie Hall (1990); and John Williams (2006). Click here for a full list of Gold Baton recipients.
The first African American principal at a major orchestra, Ann Hobson Pilot has been a pioneer for over 50 years. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music under Alice Chalifoux, she performed with the Pittsburgh and National Symphony Orchestras and became principal harp of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1980, after serving as assistant principal harp and principal with the Boston Pops since 1969. She retired from the BSO in 2009, but continues to have an active solo career, with recent performances including the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and performances of the Ginastera Harp Concerto in Buenos Aires and Boston.
A documentary about her life, A Harpist's Legacy – Ann Hobson Pilot and the Sound of Change, is available to view here.
According to the documentary's press materials, Pilot "triumphed over barriers of race and gender to become an artist and teacher, whom many, including John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma and James Levine, revere as one of the world's great harpists."
In his review of the documentary, the Boston Globe's Jeremy Eichler described Pilot as "an exceptional harpist" with "a courageous career."
Read the full release here.
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Comment by email:
Congratulation. The award is a wonderful entrance to Women History Month.