|Birth: ||Sep. 15, 1960|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Feb. 4, 1998|
Andrew De Grado, an award-winning concert pianist and music professor, died in Spain from a brief, unexplained illness on Feb 4. The former Elmwood Park resident was 37 years old.
The young musician was on concert tour with violinist Joshua Bell in Madrid when he slipped into a coma Jan. 18, said family members. He had not been ill before that, and the cause of death remains unknown.
During his career, the child prodigy won dozens of awards and performed in concert venues throughout the world. He also performed on WNYC's Young American Artist Series and on National Public Radio's "Performance Today" show.
He often teamed up with Bell, and the duo frequently appeared on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.
"He was a very warm and giving person and always went out of his way to help others, whether it was his family or members of the music community," said his mother.
"Andrew loved performing, and his favorite music was Romantic music by Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff."
Born in Paterson in 1960, Mr. De Grado began showing his exceptional talent at the piano when he was 4. He began performing at age 12 and was the 1980 winner of the New Jersey College Piano competition.
He graduated from Elmwood Park Memorial High School and received his bachelor of arts degree from Kean College. Mr. De Grado received his master of music degree from the Indiana University School of Music, where he was also a teaching assistant.
Mr. De Grado's sudden death shocked his friends and students at the University of Illinois School of Music in Champaign/Urbana, where he had taught piano since 1991. The school has set up a memorial fund in his honor.
"It's a great void for us. He was a great musician, a great pianist, and above all a great person who was generous with his time," said Christos Tsitsaros, a close friend and colleague. "Andrew was always there for everyone, his students, his friends, and especially for me whenever I needed him. He will be missed a great deal," Tsitsaros said.
Survivors include his mother and stepfather; a sister, Deborah; stepsister, Susan; and several nieces and nephews. His father, Costabile De Grado, died in 1984.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at Menorah Chapels at Millburn, 2950 Vauxhall Road, Union.
Donations may be made to the De Grado Memorial Fund at the University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 West Green Street, Urbana, Ill. 61801.
Obituary taken from:
Record, The (Hackensack, NJ)
Date: February 13, 1998
Edition: 4 Star 2 Star P 2 Star B 1 Star Late 1 Star Early
Andy was a classmate of mine at Elmwood Park High School, Class of 1978. He was blessed with his talent and we were blessed to have him part of our class. Please visit his website and see just what a wonderful talented man he was.
Andy passed just short of our 20th Reunion of our class. It would have been nice to have seen him one last time. The above bio mentions his cause of death as unknown, his website bio ends with this:
Andrew George De Grado was on tour in Madrid, Spain with Joshua Bell when he suffered an allergic reaction, went into anaphylactic shock, and then into a coma, where he remained until his death on February 4, 1998. He was 37 years old.
A very special thank you to a very special man, William R. Lynch, for sponsoring Andy's memorial. Bill that was so very nice of you. Such a sweet thing to do. I'm sure Andy is smiling in heaven.
Created by: An Angel Above
Record added: Mar 29, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13778442