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Remembering Drew Thompson

Anne Gregory
BM Flute, 2010

The world lost a wonderful musician last week, and for many a great friend. We celebrate the life of Andrew “Drew” Thompson (NEC Class of 2011), contrabassoonist and bassoonist for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He fulfilled every musician’s dream when he landed a job in his hometown. Drew’s Boston family will forever remember his intense loyalty, intellectual curiosity, ready smile, and big shoulders. Members of the NEC community share their remembrances of Drew…


I feel like Drew had the “right” balance: he worked hard but knew have a good time and appreciate the simple and most obvious things. I can’t count how many times we would hang out after a concert, or wait together for our respective lessons at the backstage of the BSO. Drew had the real NEC spirit and I will surely miss him terribly.
Maya Jacobs (Class of 2011 · MM in Viola Performance)

Drew will always be family to me. During our growth at NEC, we celebrated our accomplishments together and supported each other through tough times. His fearlessness gave us a model of how to perform and live life to its fullest potential. Drew, it has been an honor performing with you – thank you so much for the impact you made in all our lives!
Randolph Palada (Class of 2012 – MM in Clarinet)

Drew had that perfect combination of being a laser-focused, professional, dedicated musician while investing in his other passions (like swing-dancing & flame-throwing) and being a wonderful, happy person on top, always kind and welcoming whether a new acquaintance or old friend. He truly lived his life to the fullest and the world lost a HUGE talent. Drew, thank you for those years in Chicago and Boston together, whether it was performing beautiful music with you, teaching me how to swing-dance, playing Mario-Kart at your apartment, having Starbucks together, hanging out with our dear friends, trying new things, meeting new people, or just teasing the heck out of me (especially when you called me “Slagathore”). You will always be my favorite bassoonist, inspire me, and make me smile.
Cecilia Huerta (Class of 2011 · MM in Cello Performance)

Andrew was exactly the kind of friend anyone would want in music school: an inspiring player, a hard worker, and tons of fun. Our ability to blend well started even before I knew his name, and once we figured out we were both swing dancers, we knew this was a friendship that was destined to last. He was always warm, forgiving, and ready to find the humor in any situation. So much more can be said to honor this incredible person, but what matters most now is for us to remember that Drew loved his friends more than anything in the world, and his memory will be kept by the love we have for him.
Jennifer Berg (Class of 2011 · MM in Oboe Performance)

I first heard Drew’s voice when I was desperately searching for a place to live in Boston and anxious about the upcoming major life transition of moving up North. He called me and offered me an open room in his apartment, which instantly relieved all my stress. His calm, inviting voice was a welcome comfort for someone who had never lived in a big city or attended a music conservatory. Living with Drew was a pleasure beyond words. I will remember his gentle demeanor, virtuosic bassoon playing, and his desire to seek out and share camaraderie and friendship wherever he went. For those looking to pay tribute to Drew, I’d recommend taking a quick trip down Huntington and having a Gulden Draak at The Penguin, his favorite neighborhood bar.
Mark Williams (Class of 2013 · MM in Vocal Performance)


If there is one thing that Drew taught us, it is to live your life to the fullest: he danced his way into our lives, and his music will always be in our hearts.

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