Andrea Hoag

Andrea Hoag's fiddle playing is passionate and lyrical, complex and evocative. Her bold flights of imagination are firmly grounded in many years of traditional playing. Andrea is one of North America's foremost performers of traditional Swedish music, and is a highly respected fiddler in several American, English, and Celtic styles. A noteworthy composer, improvisor and vocalist, Andrea is a musical matchmaker who treats her sources with both reverence and playfulness. “Call it a fiddle, call it a violin— in [her] hands it is simply a marvelous string instrument that fits into myriad traditions and fuels many cross-cultural fusions,” wrote Richard Harrington of The Washington Post in a review of Andrea’s 1999 solo/collaborative CD, Fire & Water.

 In-depth study with master tradition-bearers has been a powerful influence on Andrea's playing. In Sweden she studied intensively with elder fiddlers Päkkos Gustaf and Nils Agenmark, in the Southern Appalachians with Wilson Douglas and Lily Mae Ledford, and in Scotland with West Highland fiddler Angus Grant. In 1984 she graduated from a course in Folk Violin Pedagogy at Malungs Folkhögskola in Sweden, where she studied with Jonny Soling and Kalle Almlöf.

 In concert, Andrea is a craftsperson with the sensibility of a poet and the generosity of a chef. Highly respected by her musical peers from across the spectrum of genres, she was named Best Traditional Folk Instrumentalist by the Washington Area Music Association (2000). Grammy winner Cathy Fink calls Andrea's performance “a perfect evening....Her stage presence is delightful, her musicianship is superb...” With versatility as a hallmark, Andrea performs both solo and in a broad range of partnerships. She appears frequently with Celtic harp champion Sue Richards, and with Wide-ranging dulcimist Jody Marshall. Andrea has performed and recorded with the early music groups Ensemble Galilei and La Rondinella, the award-winning Cajun band Squeeze Bayou, dulcimists Karen Ashbrook and Maggie Sansone, old-time fiddle/banjo master Bruce Molsky, and legendary New England pianist Bob McQuillen, among many others.

 Andrea collaborated on a pair of highly acclaimed CDs with two major proponents of Scandinavian music in America, Loretta Kelley and Charlie Pilzer. The recordings feature traditional Scandinavian tunes as well as Andrea’s recent compositions, themselves firmly rooted in the music of the past. Hambo in the Barn (1996) and Hambo in the Snow (2006) were released on the Azalea City Recordings label. Hambo in the Snow was nominated for a 2007 GRAMMY Award as Best Traditional World Music Album.

Andrea has performed at venues from The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival, and at festivals, colleges, and folk clubs across the U.S., Scandinavia, and the British Isles. She has played at events from The Christmas Revels to Civil War balls and vintage dance workshops. Director of the Seattle Skandia Spelmanslag for seven years, she led the group on an acclaimed performing tour to Sweden. The Swedish newspaper Falukuriren called her music “deeply rooted in the Swedish soul.”

A warm and innovative teacher, Andrea is in great demand for workshops and as a coach of ensembles, both in North America and in Scandinavia. She has been guest faculty at Berklee College of Music, the Universities of New Mexico and Washington, and Värmland Folk Music School (Sweden), and she is a regular instructor at Jay Ungar and Molly Mason's Fiddle & Dance Weeks, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, the Augusta Heritage Center, John C. Campbell Folk School, Country Dance and Song Society weeks, and both Scandinavian Week at Buffalo Gap and Nordic Fiddles and Feet in West Virginia.

© Hoag Kelley Pilzer 2012