Saturday, June 6, 2009

After 40 Years, Ann Hobson Pilot Retires as Principal Harpist of Boston Symphony Orchestra

[Ann Hobson Pilot, photo from The Myrtle Hart Society; Ann Hobson Pilot; Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Castaldo, Arcangelo Corelli, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure, Claude Debussy, Paul Hindemith; Boston Records 1002 (2001)]

The June issue of the eNewsletter of The Myrtle Hart Society announces the retirement of African American harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, Principal Harpist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, after a career of 40 years.
“Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director James Levine and the orchestra are honored to open Carnegie Hall's 119th season with a gala concert on October 1, 2009. Concert highlights include Evgeny Kissin perfroming Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor and the New York premiere of John Williams' new On Willows and Birches for harp and orchestra, written for the distinctive talents of BSO principal harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, who will retire from the BSO in August, 2009.”“In addition, a special Tribute Luncheon is being planned by the Coalition of Harpists of African Descent (CHAD) to honor Ms. Pilot on Sunday, October 4, 2009 in Boston, MA.”
“In an e-conversation with Ms. Pilot, Khymn Autumn, founder of CHAD, asked if news of her retirement was true. Ann had this to say, 'It is true that I will be retiring as a member of the BSO after the Tanglewood, 2009 season. I no longer enjoy Boston winters and I wanted to retire while I was still at the “top of my game.” The exciting news is that John Williams has written a harp concerto-type piece to honor my retirement and I will be premiering it with the BSO for the opening of Symphony Hall on September 23, the opening of Carnegie Hall on Oct. 1, and then back in Boston on Oct. 3 to perform the Williams piece, Elliot Carter's Mosaic and the Debussy Danses in a concert specifically designed to honor me. I don't know of any other retiring member who has received such an honor so I am extremely flattered. I have also been invited back to South Africa to perform with 3 orchestras there, probably in November. I plan to play the Williams and maybe the Debussy.'"

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