One of Only Five Orchestra Musicians in the Country to Receive the Award from League of American Orchestras for Inspiring Work Outside the Concert Hall

Hart to Share Award-Winning Education and Community Engagement Work at the League's 76th National Conference, Online, June 7-17

For Immediate Release
June 3, 2021

PITTSBURGH, PA—Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violinist Lorien Benet Hart is one of just five orchestra musicians from across the United States to receive a Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras at the 2021 League Conference Online, June 7-17, 2021, the League announced today. Supported by Ford Motor Company Fund, the awards recognize professional musicians’ deeply impactful work outside the concert hall, much of it virtual this year due to the pandemic. 

The 2021 awardees work with both adults and children in a rich variety of community settings, using music as a therapeutic tool for adults with severe and persistent mental health challenges; providing pop-up concerts during food bank distributions; bringing orchestra musicians to a regional hospital and the many constituents it serves; organizing front-porch private violin lessons and schoolyard group classes during the pandemic to breach the digital divide; and bringing the joy of music to toddlers and their families.  

“Please join us in congratulating Lorien Benet Hart, who has been the inspiration and driving motivator of having the PSO musicians and the entire organization as a partner with Pittsburgh’s 412 Food Rescue, a fantastic non-profit that connects surplus food with individuals and families who are experiencing food insecurity,” said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “Even during the pandemic, Lorien found a way to provide music to underserved communities through the 412 Food Rescue relationship, a unique way for our musicians to give back to the community.” 

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"Lorien is a true advocate for food rescue, and dedicated to doing good," said Leah Lizarondo, co-founder and CEO, 412 Food Rescue. "In addition to being one of our most active food rescue drivers, Lorien has also brought so many others onto the team in new and creative ways. We are incredibly thankful to Lorien for her generosity and leadership as a 412 Food Rescue volunteer and are proud that she is being recognized by the League of American Orchestras for her work." 

“The musicians we see on stage making great music together in an orchestra are all treasured individual members of their communities. Many of them are using their talents and humanity to teach, to inspire, and to draw out the power of music for comfort and healing,” said League President and CEO Simon Woods. “This award honors that work, and the incredible generosity of spirit that underpins it. We’re grateful to Ford Motor Company Fund for their years of support for this important program—made even more meaningful due to the pandemic.” 

“These five musicians have truly gone above and beyond for their communities over the past year, creating lasting positive impacts during such an uncertain time,” said Yisel Cabrera, Manager, Government and Community Relations, Ford Motor Company Fund. “When people couldn’t get together in person, being able to connect through music brought joy to so many.” 

Since 2016, 25 professional orchestra musicians from across the country have received awards. Honorees were selected through a competitive application process; each musician receives a cash award of $2,500 and complimentary registration to the League’s National Conference. The musician’s orchestra receives a grant of $2,500 to support professional development for its roster of musicians, as well as complimentary registration for one staff member to attend the Conference.

The 2021 awardees will be recognized at the League of American Orchestras online Conference during the Opening Session on Monday, June 7 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. They will also present their work at “Partnering Effectively,” a joint constituency meeting for musicians and education and community engagement staff, on Monday, June 14 at 1 p.m. Eastern. Videos of the musicians’ work will be posted on the League’s website after the Conference. 

Violinist Lorien Benet Hart has been a member of the PSO second violin section since 2001. Her previous positions include Assistant Concertmaster in both the Charlotte and Windsor Symphony Orchestras. She has also been a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival since 1995.  Ms. Hart holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan. 

“It is amazing to feed both the body and the soul of our fellow Pittsburghers, young, old, and all ages in between. We have had people dance, sing, cry, and even beatbox with us. Each is an indelible memory to remind us of the power of live music,” said Lorien Benet Hart.

The five 2021 Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service honorees and their orchestras are: 

Sean Claire, Violin 
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra  
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Music & Wellness program 

Jeremy Crosmer, Cello 
Detroit Symphony Orchestra  
Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s partnership with Kadima Mental Health Services’ Creative Expressions Program   

Lorien Benet Hart, Violin 
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra  
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra partnership with 412 Food Rescue 

Miho Hashizume, Violin 
The Cleveland Orchestra 
The Cleveland Orchestra’s violin program at Mound Elementary School in the Slavic Village neighborhood (front-porch private violin lessons and schoolyard group classes during the pandemic)

John Turman, Horn 
Seattle Symphony  
Tiny Tots early-childhood education series and Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots online program 


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About Ford Motor Company Fund 
As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 50 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2.1 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of more than 1,800 organizations and individuals across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned orchestras to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles, from conservatories to libraries, from businesses serving orchestras to individuals who love symphonic music. The national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform people around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit americanorchestras.org

Media Contacts
Julie Goetz | Director of Communications
jgoetz@pittsburghsymphony.org | 412.392.4866 or 412.905.9058 (mobile)