Steffy Goldner

The New York Philharmonic's First Woman

Harpist Stephanie "Steffy" Goldner (1896-1962) was the New York Philharmonic’s first woman musician.

Portrait photograph of Steffy Goldner posing with harp
Portrait of Steffy Goldner [1]

As part of Project 19, the Philharmonic’s celebration of the centennial of the 19th amendment which gave American women the right to vote, the Philharmonic Archives is telling her story for the first time.

The recent discovery of Goldner’s traveling harp case—salvaged by a furniture restorer—a collection of personal papers, programs, and photographs, and a serendipitous collaboration with Viennese artist Nives Widauer, culminate in a traveling multi-media installation honoring this seminal figure in the Philharmonic's history.

Goldner played in the orchestra for 10 years, 1922-32, resigning only to support the budding career of her husband, conductor Eugene Ormandy. After she left the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestra would not engage another woman for over 25 years.

This summary of her life has been culled from original materials, including from the New York Philharmonic Archives: memorabilia from the New York Philharmonic's 1930 Europe tour, press clippings, personnel records, and printed programs. Also invaluable were correspondence, programs, and an oral history available in a collection donated to the Philharmonic by Doris Balant, Stephanie Goldner's niece. Additional sources consist of The Eugene Ormandy Papers, Hermann Goldner, and Stephanie Goldner Collections at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.


  1. ^ Stephanie Goldner collection on Eugene Ormandy, 1911-1982, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
  2. ^ Eugene Ormandy Photographs, 1880-1992, Ms. Coll. 330, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania