Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Heritage Award (2015)

Society of Peabody Alumni

Citation for the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Heritage Award

Presented to

Wilda Heiss

April 25, 2015

The Heritage Award honors alumni and friends of Johns Hopkins who have contributed outstanding service over an extended period to the progress of the university or the activities of the Alumni Association.

You began your affiliation with Peabody sixty years ago in the Preparatory. Britton Johnson, principal flute of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, was your teacher both in the Preparatory and later in the Conservatory.

Your audition for Reginald Stewart in the Director’s office led to a scholarship and the start of your seven years in the conservatory, where you obtained a Teacher’s Certificate, a Bachelor’s Degree, an Artist Diploma, and a Master’s Degree in flute.

While at Peabody you played under Nadia Boulanger when she conducted Fauré’s Requiem; in the “pit” for the opera productions under Lazlo Halasz; and in the orchestra made up of members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and advanced Peabody students for the Ford Foundation American Conductor’s Project

After Peabody you went on to be principal flute of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Alabama, and to teach flute at several colleges and universities in the area. Also during this time you were founder, artistic director and flutist for Connoisseur Concerts.

You later moved to Washington, D.C. where you were a member of the Cherry Blossom Wind Quartet and performed with the National Concert Band of America.

You worked at the Library of Congress for 29 years, part of the time in the Performing Arts Section of the Copyright Office and the remainder of the time in the Acquisitions and Processing Section of the Music Division.

Since your return to the area, you have become involved with Peabody again. You have served on the Society of Peabody Executive Committee since 2009, and been the key volunteer organizer for Reunions 2011, 2013 and 2015.

You have served Peabody in other roles as well including bringing your skills from the Library of Congress and working as a volunteer in the Peabody archives organizing and processing the music in the Charlie Byrd collection.

Most recently you helped curate and paid for the permanent exhibit in the hallway leading to Cohen-Davison Family Theatre, to share images from the archives.

Wilda, for all that you have contributed, we are honored to confer upon you the Johns Hopkins University Heritage Award.