In 1990, the Society established the Arion Award to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to musical culture. It is named after the Greek mythical figure Arion, who was tossed into the sea by robbers but rescued and carried to safety by dolphins charmed by his music. See sidebar.
Since its inauguration, the recipients of the Arion Award have included:
- Charles Coe, poet, singer-songwriter, and administrator at the Massachusetts Cultural Council, who has aided many young artists in acquiring skills necessary for survival and achievement in our difficult cultural climate.
- David Lapin, Executive Director, and the Community Music Center of Boston, together providing extraordinary music services to the people of the city of Boston and its environs.
- Martin C. Jarman, logistician without peer, whose services of instrument moving and transportation have enabled the entire Boston area musical enterprise to function.
- Nicholas Kitchen, extraordinary violinist, educator, musical ambassador, and founder of the famed Borromeo String Quartet.
- Alejandro Enrique Planchart, exemplary scholar, educator and performer, and the leading expert on the music of Guillaume Du Fay.
- Kenneth Drake, superlative performer, scholar, and master teacher of the early classical pianoforte and its repertoire.
- Kathleen Fay, Executive Director of the Boston Early Music Festival.
- Josephine L. Murray, generous and indefatigable philanthropist and supporter of the live performing arts.
- Yuko Hayashi, outstanding performer and master teacher of the historical organ.
- William Dowd, pioneering and standard-setting co-founder of the Boston School of harpsichord making.
- Daniel Pinkham, composer, performer, musicologist and educator.
- Friedrich von Huene, maker and scholar of historical woodwind instruments.
- William Schwann, founder of the premier guide to classical recordings.
- Leo Beranek, patron of the arts.