On Friday (5/25), New York classical radio station WQXR posted excerpts from recent commencement speeches at conservatories by trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis (at the Juilliard School), former Boston Symphony Orchestra Principal Harp Ann Hobson Pilot (at Cleveland Institute of Music), pianist Robert McDonald (Manhattan School of Music), and Anne Fitzgibbon, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Harmony Program (Mannes School of Music). Marsalis: “Human beings are the greatest technology you will ever encounter. And an act of kindness lasts forever in the memory of the recipient.” Hobson Pilot: “I recognize that other African Americans had to endure much, much more than I ever did. And so in continuing to blaze a trail as so many others before me had, I made sure that I was considerate, honest and that I treated others with the same respect that I expected to be treated with.” McDonald: “Without your teacher, you have to learn to be your own toughest critic…. Your teacher has prepared you for this very moment.” Fitzgibbon: Orchestra-training programs like Venezuela’s El Sistema provide “a single source for so many of the necessities in life that most of us have the luxury of taking for granted: security, identity, companionship, beauty and joy.”

Posted May 30, 2018

In photo: Ann Hobson Pilot at the League of American Orchestras’ 2017 Conference, where she received the League’s Gold Baton award. Hobson Pilot gave an address the 2018 commencement ceremony of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Photo by Doug Coombe