The Symphony Orchestra League of Alexandria (SOLA) has awarded the 2022 Mary Graham Lasley (MGL) Scholarship to Noah Alden Hardaway ’21, ’24 (Master of Music in Performance, Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance). Hardaway performed Piano Concerto No. 3, op. 26 by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev before judges and audience at the Performing Arts Center on the campus of Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Virginia. The $2,500 first prize was one of three awards presented in the competition on Sunday, March 20.
“It was a joy to compete in the MGL competition and a real honor to receive first prize,” said Hardaway. “Everyone involved with SOLA was so welcoming and made the occasion feel more like a concert than a competition – a rare distinction! It was also tremendously satisfying to share this music in NOVA’s state-of-the-art facility featuring superbly maintained Steinway pianos. I look forward to returning to Alexandria to perform again soon.”
SOLA has conducted the scholarship competition for more than 40 years. The scholarships and compensation for three jury members are funded through a trust fund established in the 1980s in memory of Mary Graham Lasley, an active supporter of the Alexandria Symphony.
The 2020 and 2021 competitions were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous contestants have competed from East Coast and Midwestern music departments, including the the Juilliard School in New York, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, University of Maryland, George Mason University, James Madison University, American University in Washington, D.C., and the University of North Carolina.
“SOLA is very proud of the success of the MGL scholarship, which is very well regarded and well known in music departments at colleges in the East and Midwest,” said Competition Chair Sharon Walker. MGL contestants must be from Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia. Several winners have performed with the Alexandria Symphony.
SOLA announces the Mary Graham Lasley Scholarship Competition date at the start of the fall academic year and makes the application forms available online after Dec. 1.
Hailed as “ter-RIFF-ic!” by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, CBE, and “a technically gifted young virtuoso” (Chestnut Hill Local, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), pianist Noah Alden Hardaway is forging a multifaceted career as far afield as Spain, Sardinia and Lithuania, as well as Canada and the United States. He is a regular on the festival circuit, including Art of the Piano in Cincinnati, Ohio, and two summers at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he performed as a soloist with the Aspen Sinfonia Concertante. Hardaway won first prize at the 2022 Mary Graham Lasley Scholarship associated with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and was a finalist in the Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition and the 2019 Frances Walton Competition in Seattle, Washington. He has performed on WUSF 89.7 FM and has appeared in the Houston Chronicle as well as the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Winchester Star and Texas Signal. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hardaway has given online concerts and lecture-recitals for Literary Music Series, Emerson Avenue Salons, and St. Boniface in Sarasota, among others, as well as in-person performances in Virginia, Florida, Texas and his Philadelphia debut.
Hardaway works as assistant head of piano at tonebase, a company producing innovative and high-quality teaching videos featuring the world’s top pianists. He is passionate about curating unconventional projects, including assembling large student ensembles, hosting radio programs and leading interdisciplinary performances. At Shenandoah University’s 2018 ShenCoLAB, Hardaway received a grant to direct and perform in the Virginia premiere of Schnittke/Kandinsky’s “Der gelbe Klang” (“The yellow sound”). Hardaway serves as head of the project committee at the Adamant Music School in Vermont and teaches piano at Wakefield School in The Plains, Virginia.
Since 2014, Hardaway has studied intensively with Moscow Conservatory artists Vadym Kholodenko, Sergei Glavatskih and Pavel Nersessian, and his senior thesis is the first English-language exploration of Vera Gornostaeva’s life and work: a transformative approach to the art of teaching in the grand tradition of Heinrich Neuhaus. Hardaway graduated magna cum laude from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music with distinction in research and creative works. Distinguished Artist-in-Residence and Chair of Keyboard Division and Professor of Piano and esteemed Irish pianist John O’Conor, Mus.D., has been a key mentor since 2012, and Hardaway recently completed his master’s degree at Shenandoah University as a student of O’Conor, where he is currently pursuing a doctorate as a full assistantship recipient.