Sarasota is privileged to have an amazing array of accomplished artists, such as Ann Pilot. Ann became the principal harp of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1980, having joined the BSO in 1969 as assistant principal harp and principal with the Boston Pops. Prior to joining BSO, she was substitute second harp with the Pittsburgh Symphony and principal harp of the Washington National Symphony. After 40 years with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Ann retired and moved to Sarasota.
Ms. Pilot has had an extensive solo career. She has performed with many American orchestras as soloist, as well as with orchestras in Europe, Haiti, New Zealand, and South Africa. She has several CDs available on the Boston Records label and on the Koch International and Denouement labels. In September 1999, she traveled to London to record, with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Harp Concerto by the young American composer Kevin Kaska, a work that she commissioned.
In May of 2010, Ms. Pilot was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Tufts University. She has received numerous awards including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1993 and again in 2010, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Boston Musicians Association in 2010, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Talent Development League of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in January of 2014.
In 1997 she traveled to South Africa to record a video documentary, “A Musical Journey”, sponsored by the Museum of Afro-American History and WGBH. The film aired nationwide on PBS for three years. While there she performed with the National Symphony of Johannesburg and visited the San people of Namibia.
The 2013 season was marked by the release of her new CD - music of the Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, for harp, violin and bandoneon, with Lucia Lin, violinist with the Boston Symphony and the Muir String Quartet, and bandoneonist, JP Jofre.
The end of the 2016 season brought several important concerts including a performance on Sept. 24 at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. In October she performed the Ginastera Concerto with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic at the historic Teatro Colon to a sold-out audience, then in November she performed the Ginastera in Boston with the Boston Civic Symphony at Jordan Hall. Pilot once again ended the season in her role as artistic advisor and harpist for the classical pops festival in Barbado's.
Esteemed musician Ann Hobson Pilot received the League of American Orchestras' highest honor, the Gold Baton, at the League's 72nd National Conference in June 2017. 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)
Upcoming Performance in Sarasota
Sarasota Contemporary Dance will be performing Piazzolla on October 12-15, 2017. The highly anticipated collaboration with renowned harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, violinist Tai Murray, and Bandoneon player Rodolfo Zanetti, inspired by the music of Astor Pantaleon Piazzolla, the world’s foremost composer of tango music. “The evening will not be a tango show,” says Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, “but rather a unique spin on this famous artist, both musically and choreographically, which promises to keep romance alive through a hot contemporary production.
Tickets are available at the Sarasota Contemporary Dance website.