400-word bio

A Grammy nominee, recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and winner of Washington Area Music Awards “Best Traditional Folk Instrumentalist,” Andrea Hoag is a legendary performer of Swedish folk fiddling in America. Her music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Performance Today, at the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, and at numerous venues around the U.S. and in Sweden. With a particular interest in in-depth musical conversations, Andrea has collaborated across genres with many respected artists, from pianist Jacqueline Schwab to blues master Phil Wiggins.

For more than 40 years, Andrea Hoag has devoted herself to traditional fiddling. Immersing herself first in southern Appalachian music and culture in the early 1980s, she was overtaken by a love of Swedish fiddling’s unusual scales and rhythms. Awarded a fellowship from the Skandia Music Foundation, she studied at Sweden’s respected Malungs Folkhögskola, earning the certificate in Folk Violin Pedagogy in 1984. She also studied in-depth with elder tradition-bearers Pekkos Gustaf and Nils Agenmark, masters of the complex, demanding Bingsjö fiddling dialect. Andrea has taught Swedish music in many settings, including The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Weeks, Swannanoa Gathering, and Värmland Folk Music School.

Adventurousness and curiosity are hallmarks of Andrea’s career: she’s delved into and performed musical styles from Irish to Klezmer, from country rock to swing. A natural on the concert stage, she also revels in playing for dance. Throughout the 80s and 90s, she toured with bands known for their improvisation and rich arrangements, including Footloose and Future Geezers. Since 2000, Andrea has focused on collaborations and studio work with a variety of performers, including recording the Grammy-nominated album Hambo in the Snow with Hardanger-fiddle virtuoso Loretta Kelley and innovative bassist Charlie Pilzer; two recordings with The Berntsons, a tradition-bearing family from Wisconsin; a CD/DVD with the cross-cultural Dovetail Ensemble; and a new Celtic Christmas recording with dulcimist Maggie Sansone, Irish singer Patrick Egan, and Scottish harpist Sharon Knowles.

Andrea is the founder and program director of Freyda’s Hands, a non-profit organization devoted to collaborations between performing artists of diverse backgrounds and to character education through collaborative arts. Freyda’s Hands projects includes a documentary film about the collaborative process; the public workshop/concert SoundCrossing/World on a String, now going into its fourth year; and school and after-school programs.


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