CountyPrince George's County
MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2017
A Grammy nominee, recipient of two Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards and Washington Area Music Awards "Best Traditional Folk Instrumentalist" Andrea Hoag is a foremost 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., Sweden, and beyond. With a particular interest in in-depth musical conversations, Andrea has collaborated across genres with many respected artists, from blues harmonica virtuoso Phil Wiggins to Kathak dancer Brinda Guha.
Andrea has been designated a Master Artist and, along with Apprentice Chris Ousley, has been selected for a Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. You can hear them play together when the masters and apprentices demonstrate their work at the Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival in June 2018.
For more than 30 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. As the recipient of a fellowship from the Skandia Music Foundation, she studied at Sweden's respected Malungs Folkhögskola becoming the first non-Swede to earn 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 long been acknowledged as a stateside expert of Swedish fiddle tradition. Her teaching credentials include the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Weeks, Swannanoa Gathering, and many other week-long workshops, as well as guest-teaching at Berklee College of Music and the Universities of New Mexico and Washington. She was director of the Seattle Skandia Spelmanslag for seven years, leading the group on an acclaimed performing tour to Sweden, and has been a lead fiddler with Scandia Spelmannslag in Maryland for over twenty years.
Adventurousness and curiosity has been a hallmark 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 has also reveled in the joyous interactivity of playing for dance. Throughout the 80s and 90s, she toured with bands known for their improvisation and rich arrangements, including Footloose and Future Geezers. Her 1998 CD Fire & Water featured her compositions and collaborations across genres. Andrea has since performed and recorded with a variety of performers, including two Scandinavian projects: the Grammy-nominated album Hambo in the Snow with Hardanger-fiddle virtuoso Loretta Kelley and innovative bassist Charlie Pilzer, and two recordings with The Berntsons, a tradition-bearing family from Wisconsin. Her most recent recording Cold Frosty Morn with Maggie Sansone, Patrick Egan, and Sharon Knowles, features Celtic Christrnas music. She is looking forward to the 25th Anniversary Polka Pants Tour, commemorating her move to Maryland (polkapantsband.com) (see also andreahoag.com).
In 2009, Andrea founded Freyda's Hands, a non-profit organization devoted to fostering collaborative skills and intercultural understanding via the performing arts. The organization's flagship program, Old Doors/New Worlds, blossomed into the touring group Dovetail Ensemble. The Ensemble has been featured in two short documentaries, has made a CD/DVD, and was the recipient of a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation for the project Transmitting Heritage in a New World. Freyda's Hands also originated a cross-cultural, team-taught music workshop and concert SoundCrossing, which will present events in Baltimore and suburban Maryland this year.
Andrea's original tunes have attacted notice and been covered by other artists, including "Rose by the Door'' which has appeared in a film and been adapted for orchestra. She continues to delight in collaboration and learning, in quiet moments alone with the fiddle, in performance and teaching--in all the conversations that music opens--and is deeply grateful for the sharing of mentors, colleagues, and students along the way.