Erin Hannigan, Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Oboe, to receive Ford Musician Award

Erin Hannigan
Erin Hannigan, Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Oboe, One of Only Five Orchestra Musicians in the Country to Receive Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service from League of American Orchestras
Hannigan to Present at the League’s 73rd National Conference in Chicago, June 13-15

Dallas, TX (May 17, 2018) – Erin Hannigan, Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Oboe (Nancy P. & John G. Penson Chair), is one of just five orchestra musicians from across the U.S. who will receive Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras at the League’s 73rd National Conference in Chicago, June 13-15, 2018. Recognizing the transformative power of music, the Awards honor those in the orchestra field who employ music for the benefit of the greater community.

The awardees’ impact has been deep and life-changing; in partnership with their orchestras and organizations, the musicians have used music to engage, inspire and heal multiple populations: Latino children and teens, rural communities with limited access to quality music education, cancer patients and their families, the homeless and housing insecure, and visual and performing artists united in support of sheltered animals.

“Erin Hannigan is a wonderful orchestra citizen. She really cares about the Dallas Symphony and being involved in our community,” says Kim Noltemy, President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “We are so proud that she is receiving this well-deserved honor.”

“These five musicians are committed leaders and advocates who inspire their colleagues around the country with their skill and expertise in community settings,” said League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “We are grateful to Ford Motor Company Fund for supporting this vital work and helping us honor these role models.”

“We’re proud to recognize the generous service of these talented musicians, who go above and beyond to help make people’s lives better,” said Yisel Cabrera, Manager, Government and Community Relations, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Music and the arts bring people together and strengthen our communities, and that’s a benefit we can all share and enjoy.”

The musicians will receive their awards at the League of American Orchestras’ Conference Luncheon, June 14 at 12:30 p.m., and discuss their work at Social Impact Beyond the Concert Hall: A Musicians’ Panel, an elective session for Conference delegates on June 14 at 8:45 a.m.

Erin Hannigan has been Principal Oboe of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2001. Before coming to Dallas, she was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic from 1994 to 2001. Hannigan spends her summers performing with the Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, Colorado. She has been Adjunct Associate Professor of Oboe at Southern Methodist University since 2002. In 2012 Hannigan organized and recorded two CDs of the complete Zelenka Sonatas, available through Crystal Records. In June 2008, Hannigan’s first solo CD, From Hafiz to Firewing (and Beyond), was released, also on the Crystal Records label. Hannigan attended the Oberlin Conservatory where she studied with James Caldwell. She received her master’s degree and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where she was a student of Richard Killmer. She started the Concert for Kindness in 2010 with photographer Teresa Berg to raise funds to benefit Operation Kindness, a no-kill shelter based in Dallas. Erin and Teresa combine their talents with other artists, sculptors, musicians, writers and animal lovers to present the Concert for Kindness, which raises $80,000 per year.

The five award recipients and their orchestras are:

  • Jeffrey Barker, Associate Principal Flute, Seattle Symphony:
    Lullaby Project, Sensory Friendly Concerts, Simple Gifts Initiative, among others
  • John R. Beck, Principal Percussion, Winston-Salem Symphony:
    HealthRHYTHMS drumming with cancer and pediatric behavioral health patients; collaborative research study with physicians on the benefits of interactive group drumming.
  • Jody Chaffee, Flute II and Piccolo Chair, Community Engagement Director, Personnel Manager, Librarian, Firelands Symphony Orchestra and Chorale (OH)
    Providing in-school access to quality music programs for students in rural communities
  • Erin Hannigan, Principal Oboe, Dallas Symphony Orchestra:
    Concerts for Kindness, DSO’s Young Strings program, DSO Teen Council
  • Juan R. Ramírez Hernández, Violin, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra:
    Musicians in Schools, Musicians in Communities, and Talent Development Program, among others

About the Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service:

Now in its third year, the League’s Ford Musician Awards program, made possible by the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund, honors and celebrates professional orchestra musicians who provide exemplary and meaningful service in their communities and make a significant impact through education and community engagement. The Awards shine a spotlight on the work of these musicians with people of low incomes, the homebound elderly, immigrants, veterans, prisoners, students, and all those who may not otherwise have access to—or who are not traditionally served by—orchestras.

The musicians were selected by a panel of peer professionals through a competitive nomination process to receive the awards, which include a $2,500 grant to each musician, as well as an additional $2,500 grant to the musician’s home orchestra to support professional development focused on community service and engagement for musicians.

Previous Award Recipients:

2017 award recipients included Mark Dix, viola, Phoenix Symphony; Michael Gordon, principal flute, Kansas City Symphony; Diane McElfish Helle, violin, Grand Rapids Symphony; Eunsoon Lee-Coroliss, assistant principal violist, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra; and Peter Zlotnick, education manager/principal timpani, Greensboro Symphony. 

2016 award recipients included Penny Anderson Brill, viola, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Shannon Orme, bass clarinet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Jeffrey Paul, Principal Oboe, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra; Brian Prechtl, percussion, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Beth Vandervennet, cello, Oakland Symphony.

This is the League’s second partnership project with Ford Motor Company Fund, which was the title sponsor of Ford Made in America, the largest commissioning consortium in the country’s history.

About the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Jaap van Zweden, presents the finest in orchestral music at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, regarded as one of the world’s premier concert halls. As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, inventive pops concerts and innovative multi-media presentations. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the orchestra reaches more than 230,000 adults and children through performances, educational programs and community outreach initiatives. The DSO’s involvement with the City of Dallas and the surrounding region includes an award-winning multi-faceted educational program, community projects, popular parks concerts and youth programming. The DSO has a tradition dating back to 1900, and it is a cornerstone of the unique, 68 acre Arts District in downtown Dallas that is home to multiple performing arts venues, museums and parks; the largest district of its kind in the nation. The DSO is supported, in part, by funds from the Office of Cultural Affairs, City of Dallas.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services – the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company – works with community and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 67 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Next Generation Learning and other innovative programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local projects that strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit

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 2,000 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 only 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

Media Contacts:
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