Elizabeth Steiner was recently named executive director of Lyra Society, a music nonprofit based in Philadelphia. This position was previously held by Lyra Society’s founder and Philadelphia Orchestra principal harpist Elizabeth Hainen, who is now serving as the organization’s artistic director. With a mission to increase awareness of the harp as a major solo instrument, expand the harp repertoire, educate young harpists, and enrich the lives of students, Steiner says, “I am thrilled to work for the Lyra Society because it is an organization that has aligned with my goals as a harpist from day one. I was only able to start playing the harp because of a harp and harp teacher that happened to be in my middle school, so it is very meaningful for me to provide this same opportunity to the under-served students of the Philadelphia Public School District.”
Established in 2004, the Lyra Society includes GLISSANDO!, a program that gives free weekly private lessons to 30 students across the city and provides weekly group classes at the Philadelphia High School for Girls. “I am looking forward to enhancing the GLISSANDO! program by adding college admissions seminars, community outreach training, and scholarships to the Elizabeth Hainen Harp Colony at the Curtis Institute,” says Steiner. Another new addition to the Lyra Society is the performance series, Lyra Connect, “which will bring area professionals and student harpists to retirement communities, libraries, and other community centers throughout Philadelphia.”
Prior to her role as executive director, Steiner was serving as the director of education and as a teaching artist for the foundation. She also teaches harp at the Settlement Music School, Central High School, and the Kearny School. As a performer, Steiner is the harpist with the Rittenhouse Hotel, a position she has held since 2013, and has been a guest of the Baltimore Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Maryland Symphony, and Sarasota Orchestra. She has a master of music from Temple University and a bachelor of music from Cleveland Institute of Music.