Lyra Society

The Lyra Society is a women- run 501(c)3 non-profit. Lyra’s mission is to promote cultural equity through access to harp education through its core program, Glissando. Lyra provides harps, harp lessons, and harp presentations in schools at no cost to Philadelphia and Bronx School District students who have minimal access to music education. For Philadelphia students. Lyra provides college and financial aid guidance. Thanks to Lyra’s efforts, 100% of our graduates – many of whom are first generation, low-income students – continue their education in colleges, universities, or conservatories.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Philadelphia High School for Girls (Girls’ High) produced three Principal Harpists of major orchestras: Ann Hobson Pilot who was first Black Principal musician in any major American orchestra, Paula Page of the Houston Symphony, and Susan Dederich-Pejovich of the Dallas Symphony. Inspired by this once prolific program, Elizabeth Hainen, who was the newly appointed Principal Harpist of The Philadelphia Orchestra, founded the Lyra Society in 2004. She brokered a deal with Lyon & Healy Harps to trade in dusty harps found in a Girls’ High closet for usable harps for students.

Glissando Student

GLISSANDO! School Harp Program

Glissando! is the educational program of the Lyra Society. Established in 2007 by Elizabeth Hainen, providing 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.


Medgina Maitre, Ann Hobson Pilot Award 2023

Ann Hobson Pilot Award

Inspired by Ms. Pilot, Elizabeth Hainen established the Ann Hobson Pilot Award in 2023 for the Lyra Society which fosters music education through harp lessons, providing harps and lessons at no cost to under-resourced students in Philadelphia schools.  The winner of the Ann Hobson Pilot Award, is awarded a Lyon & Healy concert grand harp, provided by generous gifts from Lyon & Healy Harps, Inc. and Joslyn G. Ewart, Founding Principal of Entrust Financial. Ms. Ewart’s firm, Entrust Financial, is committed to improving and supporting communities—particularly through the arts—and is honored to support the Ann Hobson Pilot Award.



Harp’n Hoedown!

20 YEARS for the Lyra Society

What a hoot! We celebrate 20 years in the 2024-25 season. On May 15, 2024 we kicked our heels up at a “Harp’n Hoedown” with musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra that raised over 140% of our fundraising goal! The evening started with Lyra students playing for attendees as they arrived, then a one-hour bluegrass-classical crossover concert at Bldg 39 at the Arsenal.