top of page
< Back




CYNTHIA DAWDY (Apr 6 1963 - Jun 14 2021), born in Niagara Falls, New York, had a lifelong journey marked by an unwavering passion for music and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Her musical odyssey began in Youngstown, New York where she not only embraced the art of sailing but also discovered her deep connection with the harp. Under the guidance of the esteemed Suzanne Thomas, at that time the principal harpist for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), Cynthia quickly blossomed into a child prodigy.

At the tender age of 11, she made her debut with the BPO. Throughout her formative years, Cynthia continued to enthrall audiences as the Junior BPO's second harpist and later sharing her knowledge by teaching harp to over 60 students at the Niagara Falls Ontario Music School. Her dedication and talent led her to the renowned Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, under the tutelage of Eileen Malone, founding member of the American Harp Society. One of Cynthia’s notable moments in the spotlight was her performance in the 1984 national PBS broadcast of "A Christmas in Vermont," where she graced the stage with the Middlebury College Choir, showcasing her captivating harp skills in Benjamin Britten's "A Ceremony of Carols."

Cynthia's educational journey led her to Nichols High School in Buffalo and eventually to Middlebury College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature in 1985. During her college years, she dedicated her summers performing with the Lewiston Artpark Orchestra in Lewiston, New York. Her passion for psychology led her to the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California, where she pursued doctoral studies in clinical psychology. While in California, she further established her reputation as a remarkable harpist, performing with the San Francisco Civic Light Opera and the San Francisco Symphony under the mentorship of Anne Adams. In 1996, following a period in California, Cynthia returned to her hometown of Youngstown, New York, where she enjoyed a vibrant social life, sailing, and her role as Associate Director of the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo.

In 2000, she moved to New York City to pursue graduate studies, soon married, started a family, lived in Detroit Michigan and made plans to return to her beloved hometown shortly before her untimely passing in 2021. Cynthia's zest for life, her penchant for planning and hosting events, and her musical talents were celebrated by many.

She not only mastered the harp but also excelled on the piano and flute, gracing churches and community events throughout Western New York. Her music enthusiasm was boundless, as she even began drum lessons shortly before her passing.

Though Cynthia is deeply missed by her friends and family, her memory and her melodious 'harpist' talents continue to resonate in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing her. It is an honor to posthumously welcome Cynthia Dawdy into the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame.

bottom of page