Philadelphia nonprofit selected because of their unique education work
World-renowned violinist Hilary Hahn has selected the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Project 440 as the recipient of a $25,000 gift stemming from the prize money she received as part of the Glashütte Original Festspielpreis five years ago. Hahn, a member of Local 40-543 (Baltimore, MD), was selected due to her achievements in encouraging young musicians and promoting classical music education.
The award comes with the stipulation that the accompanying $25,000 grant be donated to a music-education initiative of the awardee’s choice. Hahn chose Project 440 — an organization founded and run by Joseph Conyers of Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) — as the sole recipient because of their view of music as a stepping stone to teaching high schoolers to actively impact their world on their own terms and practice essential skills for their lives beyond the school system.
“Hilary Hahn is a role model for many young musicians,” says Jan Vogler, Director of the Dresden Music Festival, who presented the award. “Her creativity and determination in pursuing her career as well as her talent in communicating her musical life to her audiences inspire the classical music world. The Dresden Music Festival was proud to award her the ‘Glashütte Original Festspielpreis’ 2014 and is looking forward to welcoming her back to the festival in the future.”
Project 440 is a Philadelphia based non-profit organization. Rather than focusing on performance and musical achievement, Project 440’s unique programs draw on a shared love of music to help young people build essential life skills. They offer two free after-school programs to high school students in Philadelphia, Doing Good and Instruments for Success, and host an annual College Fair for Musicians.
Hahn has had close ties to Philadelphia since her violin studies brought her to the city in 1990. She made her orchestral soloist debut with the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia in 1991, at the age of 11; as part of that engagement, she played her first outreach concerts in the Philadelphia public schools. She made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 14, and at 16, she returned to them as soloist for her Carnegie Hall debut. She continued to live in the city until 2004 and returned regularly thereafter, including as Artist-in-Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 2017-18 season.
“Project 440 serves a crucial purpose within the arts world,” says Hahn. “They reach across a broad socio-economic spectrum to high school students, helping them to take leadership roles in their communities and rehearsing life skills within the shared language of music. Many organizations are doing great work around personal leadership, but the way Project 440 goes about it is different from anything I’ve seen. I believe that music can be a starting point for so many kinds of conversations. Musical study has parallels across multiple disciplines: daily practice, self-guided development, the translation of history into the present day, empathy, communication, and collaboration. To harness that shared basis into a sense of purpose in the wider world not only helps music, it helps the world. Project 440 is poised to implement their projects on a larger scale, and I hope this grant will help them to reach their goals for the 2019 – 20 school year. They are a small organization with a big impact. Between their mission, passion, achievements, organizational efficiency, reach, and potential, they are the complete package. I’m excited to see what’s ahead!”
Conyers, Project 440 founder and executive director, shared the following: “Hilary Hahn is an artist of the highest caliber and international repute. I’ve been in awe of her playing since her debut album of Bach as a teenager — a recording that remains one of the finest I know. I am a long-time admirer of Hilary’s artistry and musicianship. Even with such accolades, Hilary has gone above and beyond to make herself accessible — using her gifts to inspire countless aspiring young musicians, music lovers, and enthusiasts worldwide through unique collaborations, the championing of new music, and superstar status as an influencer on social media. Using music as a tool to encourage and empower young people is at the core of our work at Project 440. We are thrilled that Hilary has identified Project 440 as the recipient of the funds from her prestigious Glashütte Award. We are thankful for Hilary’s belief in our programs, and we are further encouraged to do all we can — through music — to teach the life skills needed for individual growth and community impact to as many young people as possible.”