The City of New Haven is proclaiming September 29, 2016 “Women Making Music Day” in honor of the NHSO’s Composer-in-Residence Hannah Lash, whose music will be performed at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s (NHSO) Opening Night concert at 7:30pm in Woolsey Hall, and female composer and trailblazer Helen Hagan.
Born at the turn of the century, Hagan was the organist for the historic Dixwell Congregational Church in New Haven starting at age nine. She was the only female African-American musician sent to perform for the troops in WWI France and was the first African-American woman to graduate from the Yale School of Music; the NHSO premiered Hagan’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra circa 1912. Until this month, Hagan’s burial site in New Haven’s Evergreen Cemetery has been unmarked; the Cemetery will be holding a dedication ceremony for her new grave marker on September 29 at 2:00pm. Hannah Lash, the NHSO’s composer-in-residence and first woman to ever serve on the composition faculty at Yale, will be one of the speakers at the dedication and Mayor Toni Harp will be presenting the day’s official proclamation.
The NHSO has commissioned Hannah Lash to compose a full Symphony over the course of two seasons; the NHSO’s Opening Night concert will include the world premiere of the third movement, “Biological,” which is inspired by the Voynich Manuscript’s diagrams of human anatomy. To learn more about the Lash/Voynich Project, visit NewHavenSymphony.org/Lash-Voynich-Project.
NHSO CEO Elaine Carroll says, “There is a wonderful tie-in between the NHSO premiering Hagan’s piece in 1912 and now premiering Lash’s piece in 2016. We look forward to honoring Hagan, Lash and other trailblazing women making music in New Haven at our Opening Night performance.”
The New Haven Symphony has invited all Women who Make Music in the greater New Haven community to participate in a photo on the stairs inside Woolsey Hall’s lobby at 7pm on September 29 for a special photo to commemorate this momentous day. Special guests for this photo will include CT Representative Robin Porter, Hannah Lash, New Haven Public School Arts Coordinator Ellen Maust, NHSO CEO Elaine Carroll, and musicians from the NHSO, plus any members of the audience who are women that make music.