1984 ~ 2014

Andrea Hemmenway, of Swarthmore, PA, died August 8, 2014.

Andi was much loved by those who knew her. She had a gift for friendship. She was funny-and she was fun. Her friends remember her as a ready accomplice, a co-conspirator: "she was up for pretty much anything"; "she was always ready to have fun and quite determined to take you with her"; "you could be as kooky as you wanted and she'd just light up, like 'these are my people.'" She was smart, intense, and socially aware-but never judgmental. Whether she was trying to persuade her more inhibited friends to let go and dance a little or playing music with people who were less accomplished than she was, she was always an encourager, never a critic.

Andi was a violist, singer-songwriter, improviser, and composer. She performed in venues from coffee houses to Carnegie Hall, from a monastery in Italy to the ancient sidewalks of Athens. Andi was an artist and a performer from the beginning. As a child, she studied dance, drama, piano, voice, and flute at the arts center her mother founded; later she chose to focus on the viola. She held degrees in viola performance from Rice University and the Juilliard School.

Andi's musical repertoire was shaped by the people she worked with and the ensembles she performed in. Summer music festivals at Tanglewood and Aspen-and workshop collaborations with Bang on a Can, Eighth Blackbird, and the Silk Road Ensemble-expanded both her interests and her abilities. Her training with her teachers Al Filosa and James Dunham formed her as a classical musician; her Juilliard mentor Eric Booth broadened her sense of the artist's place in the world. Her workshop experience with Yo-Yo Ma was transformative, introducing her to world music and inspiring her. As a result, after graduating from Julliard she was off to Greece as a Fulbright scholar: there she studied traditional Greek music, learned to play new instruments, and did the work that led to her album, A Life of Colors.

A beloved daughter and sister, Andi is treasured by her family for her bountiful heart and glorious smile. While immensely talented, she honored the need for dedication to the craft of playing. She was spiritual and innocent, always searching for a philosophy or construct that might make sense of the world. She loved her family deeply and forever-and knew she was deeply and forever loved in return. We are all better for Andi having been in our lives.

Memorial contributions to honor Andi's life may be sent to the Athena Scholarship Fund, Darlington Arts Center, 977 Shavertown Road, Garnet Valley, PA 19060, or the Danielle Rose Paikin Foundation, 13 Deer Run, Little Baltimore, Newark, DE 19711.

 

Hear Andi's Music .