On Monday, March 20, senior harp performance major Medgina Maitre became the inaugural recipient of the Lyra Society's Ann Hobson Pilot Award. Pilot, who is now retired from the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras, is an internationally celebrated harpist who broke race and gender barriers as an African American woman in classical music. She is a native of Philadelphia, having graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls, of which Maitre is also an alum.
The Ann Hobson Pilot Award is the first of its kind, awarding an aspiring Philadelphia harp student who has completed a college degree in music performance and intends to pursue a professional career as a harpist. Included as part of the award is a concert grand harp by Lyon & Healy, valued at $25,000. The harp was provided by generous gifts from Lyon & Healy and Joslyn G. Ewart, a longtime friend of Boyer College. Maitre graduates this spring with her bachelor of music degree, performing her senior recital on Friday, April 28 at 5:30 PM in Rock Hall Auditorium.
Adjunct faculty member Elizabeth Hainen, principal harpist of The Philadelphia Orchestra and founder of the Lyra Society, surprised Maitre with the award on the Rock Hall Auditorium stage. Ewart, who is also Maitre's scholarship benefactor, and Dean Robert Stroker were also present to share their congratulations, as well as Ann Hobson Pilot herself who joined on Zoom, fellow harp majors at Boyer and staff of the Lyra Society, including Maitre's former harp teacher, Elizabeth Steiner, BYR '13.
The Lyra Society is a groundbreaking program that fosters music education through providing harps and harp lessons at no cost to under-resourced students in Philadelphia schools. Hainen established the Ann Hobson Pilot Award in 2023 to honor Pilot's legacy, which includes her devotion to expanding access to musical training and to raising awareness about issues of diversity and inclusion of underrepresented musicians in orchestras.