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Penny Anderson Brill


Born in Seattle, Washington, Penny Anderson began studying viola and piano when she was nine. She competed internationally in middle distance track events in high school and college and was a finalist in the first national 1500 meters for women (1968 Denver).

She graduated from Smith College and the Juilliard School. She taught at the Oberlin Conservatory for two years before joining the Buffalo Philharmonic. One year later (in 1980) she joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra viola section.

In 1985 she won the Pittsburgh YWCA Tribute to Women Award in part for her work on redesigning the hiring process at the Pittsburgh Symphony. In May of 2002 she won the Symphony’s Vince Calloway Customer Service Excellence award for her work with Music and Wellness. In 2003 she won the national AMTA(American Music Therapy Association)’s Advocacy award. In 2006 she won adagioHEALTH’s Tempo Award in recognition of “generous and significant contributions to improve the health and well- being of women and families in western Pennsylvania.” In 2010 she won the AMTA Mid- Atlantic Region’s Advocacy award.

Ms. Anderson served as chair of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Committee (PSOC) as well as Treasurer of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM). She was also a part of the A.W. Mellon Orchestra Forum as well as the Mellon Task Force, which were looking at the future direction of orchestras.

She frequently gives presentations to oncology patients, support groups, teachers and health care workers on the use of music for pain and stress management. She also works with special needs children at the Woodlands camp, and helps provide musicians for Hot Pink Pittsburgh, an annual fundraising concert to support preventive health care for women. In addition to these activities, she works with the string players at Shady Side Academy. She also is a consultant to other orchestras, helping string players expand their repertoire so that they can do more effective outreach. She is a founding member of the jazz string group Blues on First.

Her work with Music and Wellness continues to receive a great deal of media attention. She appeared on national as well as many local television programs. In addition to numerous articles in Pittsburgh newspapers and magazines, she appeared in Health magazine, BBC Music magazine, the British Medical Association newsletter, Symphony magazine and Harmony magazine, as well as the International Musician.

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