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In Honor of Musician Hans Boman

Hans Boman at piano

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the campus community on Feb. 7, 2020:

Dear Friends,

With deep sadness, I write to share the news that Dance Program Accompanist Hans Boman died last Thursday at age 64.  

Hans is survived by six siblings and 14 nieces and nephews. A memorial will take place in the Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse on Friday, February 28, at 4 p.m. Hans’s family wishes for gifts in his honor to be directed to the College’s Dance Program.

I invite you to read more below about Hans and his many contributions to our community. 


Valerie Smith

In Honor of Musician Hans Boman

Hans, who lived in Swarthmore, came to the College in 1990. His colleagues remember him as a true gentleman and gifted musician who was equally adept on piano accompanying classical ballet classes as he was classes in modern dance.

“Hans’s musicianship and his knowledge of Western classical music were outstanding,” says Professor of Dance and Chair of Music and Dance Pallabi Chakravorty. “He could play several instruments and had an insatiable curiosity for music from all over the world. We will miss him in our classes.”

“Hans was a wonderful musician and had a wicked sense of humor. We would talk about everything,” says Music and Dance Department Administrative Assistant Susan Grossi. “Hans was a kind and gentle soul. I’ll miss the conversations and the inside jokes. I'll miss my friend.”

Hans was born in Denmark in 1955 and came to the U.S. in 1973 to study piano performance at the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, now the University of the Arts. By the time he graduated with a bachelor of music in 1979, he had already begun to build his reputation as an in-demand accompanist for singers and instrumentalists.

Hans became a respected fixture in the region’s performing arts community, where he accompanied classes at the University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Ballet, and University City Arts League, as well as for choral groups and productions of Broadway musicals. In addition to the piano and organ, he incorporated the use of various drums and percussion instruments into some of his accompanying work. A man of deep faith, Hans also played church services at various religious houses in the Philadelphia region, notably at the Christian Science Society in Drexel Hill, for more than 25 years.

At Swarthmore, as the Dance Program grew, so did Hans’s role. In addition to continuing his work in classes, he also periodically provided accompaniment for student and faculty concerts. He was admired for his comprehensive knowledge of classical repertoire and his capacity to improvise.

“Many students, faculty, and staff benefitted from his understanding of the collaborative relationship between music and dance,” says Professor Emerita of Dance Sharon Friedler, who directed the program during much of Hans’s time at the College. “Hans put himself in service of both art forms and contributed significantly to the vibrancy of the dance curriculum through his musicianship, his gift to us all.”

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