Penny Anderson Brill
A native of Portland, Oregon, 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 competed in the first national 1500 meters for women (1968).
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 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."
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 is on the Board of the Pittsburgh Symphony. She is also a part of the A.W. Mellon Orchestra Forum as well as the Mellon Task Force, which is looking at the future direction of orchestras.
She is involved in a variety of outreach projects. Teamed with a UPMC Music Therapist she gives frequent presentations on the use of music for pain and stress management. Along with two UPMC music therapists, she also works with special needs children at the Woodlands camp. She helps provide musicians for Hot Pink Pittsburgh and the Race for the Cure, which support breast cancer screenings and research. In addition to these activities she works with the string players at Shady Side Academy. She is also a consultant to other orchestras, helping string players expand their repertoire so they can do more effective outreach. She is a founding member of the jazz string quartet Blues on First.
Her work with Music and Wellness continues to receive a great deal of media attention. She appeared on NBC and many local television shows. In addition to many articles in Pittsburgh newspapers and magazines, she appeared in of Health magazine, BBC Music magazine, the British Medical Association newsletter, Symphony magazine, Harmony magazine as well as the International Musician. She also wrote an article on complementary therapies for fightingspirit.org, a website for breast cancer patients. She is the music and wellness contributing editor for polyphonic.org.
She and her husband, Daniel Brill, choral and string teacher at Shady Side Academy Senior School, have two daughters, Anna and Katie. Her twin sister, Pam Anderson, makes and repairs stringed instruments and is involved in instrument acoustics research.