March 14, 2018

Ann Hobson Pilot to Receive Honorary Doctorate at CIM Commencement

Ann Hobson Pilot

Illustrious harpist Ann Hobson Pilot – widely recognized as the first African-American woman to hold a principal position with a major orchestra – will address graduates at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s 93rd Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 19. The school will confer an Honorary Doctorate upon Pilot at that time. Pilot graduated from CIM in 1966 after studying with the celebrated Alice Chalifoux.

Frank Huang (BM ’02, Weilerstein) and Kathryn Wyatt (MM ’05, Konopka)
New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Frank Huang and El Sistema USA Executive Director Kathryn Wyatt to receive alumni awards.

During Honors Convocation on Friday, May 18, Frank Huang (BM ’02, Weilerstein), Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, will accept CIM’s Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors alumni who have attained the highest stature in their field. Kathryn Wyatt (MM ’05, Konopka), Executive Director of El Sistema USA, will accept the Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes significant professional contributions to their field. Both will address graduates, students and community members at the annual celebration. 

“Ann Hobson Pilot is an absolute legend among harpists and in the orchestra field,” said Paul W. Hogle, President & CEO of CIM.

“She blazed a trail for women and for African Americans in classical music during the Civil Rights Movement and throughout the 1970s, and she describes some unbelievably difficult challenges along the way. As our graduates venture out into orchestras, into additional education, into freelance careers and into entrepreneurial pursuits, Ann’s perspective is inspirational. Through her persistence, grace, creativity and exceptional musicianship, Ann overcame countless challenges to earn her rightful place in the classical music pantheon, and her advice in navigating the path ahead will be invaluable.”

“CIM is also so pleased to recognize Frank Huang and Katie Wyatt, two of our many accomplished alumni who exemplify the musicianship, mentorship and community engagement that are the hallmarks of a CIM education,” added Dr. Judy Bundra, Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the Conservatory.

“From his position in the New York Philharmonic, Frank inspires the next generation of orchestra players who fill CIM’s halls today. Katie is both a talented musician in her own right and a model of the entrepreneurial spirit that we’re infusing into the school through the Center for Innovative Musicianship (known as CIM²). We look forward to Frank and Katie sharing their advice with our graduates and the community at Honors Convocation.”

Commencement and Honors Convocation

Honors Convocation is open to the public, and reservations are not required. Convocation takes place in CIM’s Mixon Hall on Friday, May 18, at 4pm.

Due to space limitations, only invited guests may attend Commencement in Kulas Hall on Saturday, May 19, at 10am. Both events will be livestreamed. Find more information about commencement weekend and our live streams


Read the full press release, here.

Photo credit: Frank Huang photo by Chris Lee