Hilary Hahn Donates her $25,000 Glashütte Original Festspielpreis to Project 440

Philadelphia nonprofit selected by Hahn because of their unique education work

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Pictured: Hilary Hahn (left, photo credit: Michael Patrick O'Leary), Joseph Conyers with Project 440 students (right, photo credit: Al B For photography)

World-renowned violinist Hilary Hahn has selected the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Project 440 as the recipient of a $25,000 gift stemming from the prize money she received as part of the Glashütte Original Festspielpreis five years ago. Hahn was selected due to her achievements in encouraging young musicians and promoting classical music education.

The award comes with the stipulation that the accompanying $25,000 grant be donated to a music-education initiative of the awardee’s choice. Hahn chose Project 440 as the sole recipient because of their view of music as a stepping stone to teaching high schoolers to actively impact their world on their own terms and practice essential skills for their lives beyond the school system.

“Hilary Hahn is a role model for many young musicians,” says Jan Vogler, Director of the Dresden Music Festival, who presented the award. “Her creativity and determination in pursuing her career as well as her talent in communicating her musical life to her audiences inspire the classical music world. The Dresden Music Festival was proud to award her the ‘Glashütte Original Festspielpreis’ 2014 and is looking forward to welcoming her back to the festival in the future.”

Project 440 is a Philadelphia based non-profit organization. Rather than focusing on performance and musical achievement, Project 440’s unique programs draw on a shared love of music to help young people build essential life skills. They offer two free after-school programs to high school students in Philadelphia, Doing Good and Instruments for Success, and host an annual College Fair for Musicians.

Hahn has had close ties to Philadelphia since her violin studies brought her to the city in 1990. She made her orchestral soloist debut with the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia in 1991, at the age of 11; as part of that engagement, she played her first outreach concerts in the Philadelphia public schools. She made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 14, and at 16, she returned to them as soloist for her Carnegie Hall debut. She continued to live in the city until 2004 and returned regularly thereafter, including as Artist-in-Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 2017-18 season.

“Project 440 serves a crucial purpose within the arts world,” says Hahn. “They reach across a broad socio-economic spectrum to high school students, helping them to take leadership roles in their communities and rehearsing life skills within the shared language of music. Many organizations are doing great work around personal leadership, but the way Project 440 goes about it is different from anything I’ve seen. I believe that music can be a starting point for so many kinds of conversations. Musical study has parallels across multiple disciplines: daily practice, self-guided development, the translation of history into the present day, empathy, communication, and collaboration. To harness that shared basis into a sense of purpose in the wider world not only helps music, it helps the world. Project 440 is poised to implement their projects on a larger scale, and I hope this grant will help them to reach their goals for the 2019-20 school year. They are a small organization with a big impact. Between their mission, passion, achievements, organizational efficiency, reach, and potential, they are the complete package. I’m excited to see what’s ahead!”

Joseph Conyers, Project 440 Founder and Executive Director, shared the following:

“Hilary Hahn is an artist of the highest caliber and international repute. I’ve been in awe of her playing since her debut album of Bach as a teenager — a recording that remains one of the finest I know. I am a long-time admirer of Hilary’s artistry and musicianship. Even with such accolades, Hilary has gone above and beyond to make herself accessible — using her gifts to inspire countless aspiring young musicians, music lovers, and enthusiasts worldwide through unique collaborations, the championing of new music, and superstar status as an influencer on social media. Using music as a tool to encourage and empower young people is at the core of our work at Project 440. We are thrilled that Hilary has identified Project 440 as the recipient of the funds from her prestigious Glashütte Award. We are thankful for Hilary’s belief in our programs, and we are further encouraged to do all we can — through music — to teach the life skills needed for individual growth and community impact to as many young people as possible.”



Project 440 engages, educates and inspires young musicians, providing them with the career and life skills they need to develop into tomorrow's civic-minded, entrepreneurial leaders. Project 440 refers to the 440Hz "tuning A" of an orchestra. Just as the oboe leads an orchestra with the 440 Hz pitch, Project 440 students are learning to be 21st Century leaders. For more information on Project 440, visit www.project440.org.


Three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn is renowned for her clear and brilliant musicality, expansive interpretations, and organic connections with her audience. Since beginning her recording career in 1997, she has released 20 feature albums on Sony, Deutsche Grammophon, and Decca. Hahn begins a year-long sabbatical in September after a busy 2018-19 season, in which she completed her solo Bach cycle with a long-awaited recording of Partita No. 1 and Sonatas 1 & 2; embarked on a worldwide solo Bach recital tour; released the world premiere recording of her solo commission of Antón García Abril’s 6 Partitas; and launched the print edition of the sheet music for her large-scale commissioning project In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores, featuring her own fingerings, bowings, and performance notes.

Hahn is active on social media and has a large global audience that spans all ages. She is the originator of #100daysofpractice, an Instagram-based practice initiative, and has completed three sequences of the project. Fellow musicians and students have joined in with their own 100 days, adding up to more than 200,000 posts under the hashtag. The project has inspired viewers and participants to embrace the practice process as a positive, creative, and social aspect of artistic development rather than an isolating and frustrating chore. Hahn’s three sets of #100daysofpractice can be found on her feed @violincase.  

For more information and to read her extensive archive of writings from the road, visit www.hilaryhahn.com.

Read more:


Historic $25,000 Challenge Grant Generously Pledged by John McFadden Esq. and Lisa D. Kabnick Esq.


Project 440’s fiscal year-end campaign is halfway completed, and we are honored to announce the support of John McFadden Esq. and Lisa D. Kabnick Esq.! The couple has pledged to match up to $25,000 of donations received during the month of August. McFadden, who sits on the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, Curtis Institute of Music, and other boards stated: “We are proud to support Project 440 in its vision for using music as a tool to support young people in Philadelphia.”

John is a founder and partner at McFadden, Pilkington, & Ward LLC, an international law firm. He currently lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Lisa D. Kabnick, Esq., a senior advisor at Pepper Hamilton LLP and vice chair of the board of Philadelphia Media Network. John earned degrees from Harvard University (BA), Columbia University (MBA), and Fordham University (JD). He has a strong connection with the arts as he serves on multiple boards mentioned above, including the Barnes Foundation. McFadden also serves on the board of the Philadelphia Media Network.

John’s passion for the arts can be traced back to a special concert performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He said that this was a “Road to Damascus” moment that changed his life and inspired him to support artistic organizations. Not only does he share a strong value for the arts, but he strongly believes in supporting young artists and the organizations that serve them.

We can not thank John and Lisa enough for their support of Project 440. We are proud to have their backing as we continue to provide the young people of Philadelphia with the skills and tools they need to succeed. artists. Join us in making an impact by donating here.


Michael Tilson Thomas - Project 440's Essential Role in Music

By Michael Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson Thomas working with Joseph Conyers and the All-City Orchestra.

Michael Tilson Thomas working with Joseph Conyers and the All-City Orchestra.

It is a pleasure to write these words of appreciation about Project 440.

Project 440 takes its name from the frequency of the note “A” to which orchestras tune. 

Orchestras have been in existence for some four hundred years and have brought both performers and listeners together in ways that defined and re-imagined the spirit of their times and passed it on to the future. Such is the case of Project 440 which gives young people the opportunity to learn essential life, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills through the shared medium of music. Some of them will become musicians. All of them will have an understanding of the language of music and the desire to share its caring message with others in creative new ways. 

There are two essential moments in the life of an artist and of an artistic organization. One is inventing yourself. The other is going the distance. Project 440 has done both. Since 2010, under the leadership of Joseph Conyers, it has created and sustained an educational and artistic partnership with all of Philadelphia sharing music educational opportunities into all communities, partnering with its school system, and encouraging young people to become effective partisans of music and the rich cultural heritage it expresses.

Joseph Conyers has a wonderful way of connecting people. His experience as a principal player in the Philadelphia Orchestra and his awareness of the many cultures of young people right at this moment give him a can-do spirit that is inspiring to young people and seasoned professionals. The faces of the Project 440 participants glow with the devotion that Joseph Conyers and his team bring to this project.


Welcoming Mason to the Project 440 Team!

Mason is an intern from the Bloomberg Arts Internship Program and will be spending the next 7 weeks working with Project 440!

Mason is an intern from the Bloomberg Arts Internship Program and will be spending the next 7 weeks working with Project 440!

Q: How did you find out about this internship?

A: During the school year, my art teacher brought me a flyer for the Bloomberg Arts Internship and I signed up that very night. When I was assigned to Project 440, I did a little digging through the website to learn more about the organization. Needless to say, I was very excited to start working here.

Q: What is your relationship with music? What does music mean to you?

A: Music has always been a part of my life. I started singing straight out of the womb and I haven’t stopped since. I play guitar and bass and started a band called Mystic Prize with my friend Willem about a year ago. Since then, we’ve released a few singles, an EP, and full length album and we are still working hard at creating more. I think I get my musical inclination from my dad, who played trombone for the better half of his adolescence.

Music, to me, is the ultimate form of self-expression. Anyone can make music. It has so many different forms, evokes many different emotions, and can be very tangible. If you have something to say, an instrument can give you the words to say it. There are so many messages that can be expressed universally through a simple instrumental, just the thought of it is empowering. Music can break language barriers. Whenever I am feeling something strongly but can’t find the words, I pick up my guitar and sing whatever falls out of my mouth. It doesn’t even feel like I’m thinking, I’m just doing. It is liberating. They don’t have to be the right words, but they are the truth, and having that honesty with myself is something magical that I only find through music.

Q: Describe yourself in 3 words.

A: Oof, this is difficult, I have so many words. I guess I’d say that I am goofy, creative, and friendly (and for my boss, super hardworking!).

Q: Do you actually like long walks on the beach?

A: Eh. I’d prefer a nice hike in the woods followed by a cooling swim in a lake!

Q: What do you hope to gain from interning at Project 440?

A: I hope the professional environment will improve my self-motivation and organization. There are a lot of things to get done throughout the work day, and taking them one step at a time in an organized manner is very important. Just within my first week here, I can already feel myself getting better with time management and organization. Every task I complete feels like I am contributing to something bigger than myself, which definitely makes me feel more motivated to do the work.


East Falls Now - Using Music to Train Entrepreneurs


by John T. Gillespie

Just as Chopin captivated 19th Century Paris salons with his virtuosity on the piano, so the young musicians of Project 440 captured the hearts and minds of Henry and Kathy Donner’s guests with Beethoven’s obeo trio.

But Beethoven, inspiring and critically performed as he was, was not the focus of a Sunday afternoon in April in the Donners’ living room on Apologen Rd. Music, the discipline with the power to inspire and train men and women for productive lives, was.

Project 440 stands for 440 Hz, or middle A on the musical scale, the note musicians use to tune their instruments. In this case it could also stand for music’s importance in life.

Joseph Conyers, bass for the Philadelphia Orchestra and founder and executive director of Project 440, says the program treats music as a means, not an end, to a successful life. “Project 440,” he says, “fosters musicians’ passion and helps them build skills to amplify their future success.”

With students drawn from the city’s leading public high schools—Masterman, Centra, Girard, Northeast High, the High School for the Create and Performing Arts, Benjamin Rush and the All City Orchestra—the project has a ready pooled potential members.

The project offers two after-school options. Doing Good teaches young people the ins and outs of social entrepreneurship, leaderships, and community service. Instruments for Success focuses on college and career preparedness—all through the lens of music.


Claire, a Project 440 student, said that “Participating in Project 440’s Doing Good allows me to do just that: good. Being part of this organization also has allowed me to learn new entrepreneurship skills and meet new people with a similar goal. The things I was able to learn in this class will stick with me throughout my future endeavors.”

The Donners have become cultural mavens in the neighborhood. They hosted a recent musicale at Germantown Friends School and invited City Councilman and realtor Allan Domb to their home for a political tutorial on taxes and city government.

Henry Donner is a member of the board of Project 440 and a fervent admirer of the organization and its founder.

“Anyone who has met the Orchestra’s Joseph Conyers recognizes he is a force of nature—bright, articulate, thoughtful, engaging, an accomplished classical musician with impactful social purpose realized in a non-for-profit organization he created.

“Project 440, through its two flagship programs, Doing Good and Instruments for Success, teaches high school students from across Philadelphia about social entrepreneurship, community service, and college and career preparedness—all through the lens of music.”

Click here to view the full June edition!

Transcribed from East Falls Now, John T. Gillespie.


Teaching Artist Spotlight: Emily Cooley

Meet Emily Cooley, a local composer and Teaching Artist (TA) for Instruments for Success! Read about how she got involved with Project 440 and what she has taken away from being a TA.


Q: How did you get involved with Project 440, and what drew you to this organization? 

I first heard about Project 440 when I was a student at Curtis. I think the organization has a very unique role in Philly’s music scene - I love that Project 440 builds connections between young musicians and the larger community. 

Q: What is your favorite part of being a Teaching Artist (TA)?

I like hearing about students’ interests and goals. There are so many different paths our students want to explore, both in college and beyond. It’s inspiring to meet students who have very specific goals, but I also relate to those who aren’t quite sure what they want to do, because that was me in high school.

Q: Like most of the Project 440 staff, you wear many hats outside of your work as a TA. Can you speak about what other projects/ensembles/organizations you are involved with outside of Project 440?

I’m a freelance composer, and I teach a lot of private composition and piano students in the Philly area. I also help run a concert series in New York called Kettle Corn New Music. 


Q: You are a working professional, but is there anything that you learned while being a TA for Instruments for Success?   

Where you go to college doesn’t determine your future success! I don’t think I ever got that message when I was in high school.

Q: If you could give any advice to your high school self with regards to college applications and career choices, what would it be?

Probably to leave my options open and always take time to reflect on both my past choices and potential future interests. That’s something I’m trying to do now as well.


Project 440 Teams Up with The Mann Center, School District of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Orchestra

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Project 440, The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, School of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Orchestra are teaming up to host a free program for the students of Philadelphia. This is a summer experience built to serve rising 8th grade through 12th grade instrumental students in the School District of Philadelphia.

All City Orchestra Summer Academy (ACOSA) will help extend the All City Orchestra program into the summer months, giving the opportunity for students to enjoy a high-quality music learning experience close to home.

The two-week program will be held from July 15 to 26 at the Mann Center, which is the same time the Philadelphia Orchestra will be in residence for concerts at the Fairmount Park amphitheater.

Project 440 will be providing enrichment support to the program in conjunction with the students' musical learning experience. This includes life skills, college and career prep, and mind and body classes for the students to take their learning throughout their lives and careers.

Project 440 will hold sessions in Mindfulness and Movement, Smart Practice Tools, Community Engagement and Interactive Performance, and Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Susanna Loewy, Project 440 Program Director, added “All of these sessions will be led by Project 440 Teaching Artists. We believe that music should be used as a tool to help students gain and apply important 21st century skill sets that will help them during their careers.”

Joseph Conyers, Project 440 Executive Director and All City Orchestra music director, explained that the goal of ACOSA is not to create more professional musicians. “Our goal is to use music as the tool with which to teach important life skills that are transferable into any industry they wish to pursue - literally using music as an instrument for success,” he said. He continued by saying “If students do, however, want to pursue music, not only will we be able to identify and connect them with a local artistic partner through ACOSA, but those students will have the entrepreneurial mindset to become successful at their craft.”

We are excited to be working with such great partners on a project designed to help the young people of Philadelphia grow and develop. You can read more about ACOSA in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.


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Congratulations and Thanks to the Seniors with Project 440

As the school year, Doing Good, and Instruments for Success comes to an end, we want to start by congratulating them on all of their hard work and accomplishments. The students in our programs have gone to school to learn from the amazing teachers in Philadelphia while also taking time after school to learn and prepare for college and their future careers. We have enjoyed spending time with these young leaders and want to thank them for joining us in this learning experience, especially the members of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC).

YAC consists of alumni of Project 440 programs, the School District of Philadelphia, and other young leaders from throughout the region with a passion for music education. Participants meet monthly and receive leadership, project management, governance and advocacy training. The mission of YAC is to use peer to peer influence to ensure diverse representation in Project 440’s programs and to provide feedback on program content. You can read more about YAC here!

We want to give a special thanks and shoutout to the YAC members for helping us grow and better serve the young people of Philadelphia. Here is the list of graduating seniors:


Chloe Cooper

University of Tampa

Music Education


Claire Casanova

Temple University

Music Education


Malinda Voell

Temple University

Flute Performance


Marquise Bradley

Cleveland Institute of Music

Clarinet Performance

We are very excited to see what each and every one of our seniors accomplishes as they take the next steps in their lives. Congratulations!


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Congratulations to the Doing Good Class of 2019!

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We celebrated the 2019 Doing Good Graduation on May 9th and could not have ask for a better night! Doing Good is a 30-week intensive after-school entrepreneurial program that provides guidance to high school musicians who want to positively impact their communities. The unique curriculum challenges students to view their curiosity about the world as a window through which they can see the needs, gaps, and opportunities they are best equipped to address. Click here to learn more about Doing Good!

The graduation served as their final project for the program, presenting their community based artistic projects that they have begun to the graduation attendees! This year’s projects were:

T. Arts

Javon miner 

Our plan is to give, inspire, and expose the arts to students who need it to a program that will allow children who attend non-arts schools, to put on a show that includes both film acting and musical theater. They will have time to practice and perform each of their numbers, and get to enjoy the thrill of the dramatic arts.

Center City Chamber Orchestra+ (CCCO+)

Daniel Kim & Justin Williams

We plan to contribute to the Center City Chamber Orchestra - an orchestra created by students, performed by students, and led by students - by creating an educational component to their programming.

Generation Music

Chloe Cooper, Claire Casanova, Nayyirah Wood,

Kintan Silvany & Naomi Lukov

To educate the youth in classical music with a series interactive workshops and lessons through student knowledge of music.

Project Princeps

Jake Richards, Sarah Casanova & Grace Flickinger

To give every child the chance to experience the power of books through musically minded entrepreneurial ventures.

We want to send special thanks to our program director and teaching artist Susanna Loewy, teaching artist Nozomi Imamura, and the Curtis Institute for Music for sharing their space with us.


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Project 440 Receives Support from Marple Newtown High School Tri-M Music Honor Society


On May 7th, 2019, the Marple Newtown High School held their induction ceremony for the newest chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. During this celebration, they announced that they donated $1,100 to Project 440 in support of our programs and the work we do for the communities in Philadelphia. The support of a group of hard-working and generous young people is one of our greatest motivators, and we are excited to continue working for the young people of Philadelphia.

The Tri-M Music Honor Society students recently completed a service project in which they raised $1,100 to donate to an organization they believed in. During one of their meetings, Jake Olimpi (Advisor of Tri-M) mentioned Project 440 and explained our mission and programs. Olimpi said this about the students’ reactions, “Their eyes lit up. Applying skills learned through music to the real world is something we strive to teach here at Marple Newtown so it only made sense to contribute to a program that helped students so close to our school.”

As our programs begin to wrap-up and we congratulate our graduating seniors, we want to also thank and congratulate the students of Marple Newtown’s Tri-M Society on a successful service project and a generous donation. We hope to continue to inspire these students and can’t wait to see what they accomplish in their futures!


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