News and Events

Evelyn Swensson's "Lifetime Achievement" Award October 10 2014

On Monday October 6th, 2014

The 2014 Governor's Awards for the Arts of Delaware was presented to a grand audience of 800+. On that night Evelyn Swensson was nominated for the "lifetime achievement" in the arts and received the "Peggy Amsterdam Outstanding Achievement Award." She received a standing ovation for all of her successful work in the state of Delaware as a conductor, composer, fundraiser, educator, and general art advocate. Evelyn has spent 58 years of her life dedicated to the performing arts and she is happy to say,

"I am thankful for the honor and especially proud that the event took place at the Grand Opera House where the majority of my work with OperaDelaware,1974-2007, took place. To be honored at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE by Governor Markell and a host of longtime friends and colleagues was a tribute I never expected. Those 58 years of making music in Delaware were pure joy while they were happening." - Evelyn Swensson.

Evelyn's Book - Notes: My Life with Music


Photography by Kathy Buckalew

Evelyn Swensson, 2014 Delaware Governor's Awards for the Arts Recipient.


Watch The Full Award Ceremony, Evelyn's award speech starts at 1:03:45

Evelyn Swensson's charming memoir "Notes - My Life with Music" will be released September 22, 2014 September 16 2014

Place your order here-"Notes- My Life with Music"

Commonwealth Books of Virginia is pleased to announce the publication of Evelyn Swensson's memoir about her remarkable careers as a wife and mother, a singer, a composer of a dozen celebrated children's opera, and a mentor to dozens of talented young musicians.

Evelyn begins her story by remembering her mother and father whose families had lived for generations in the Shenandoah Valley. She explains that when her father enlisted in the calvary prior to World War II, she began a far-flung girlhood, which brought her into contact with great musical works, inspirational personalities (like MGM star Kathryn Grayson and Broadway star Mary Martin), and icons of American music (like folk music anthologist, John Jacob Niles and voice coach Martin Katz).

She was determined to fill her life with music, but her priorities were to support her adoring “DuPonter” husband and to raise their four beautiful children. Wherever Sig’s career took them, Evelyn made musical waves. She began her career in music as a “musical midwife” producing and conducting children’s operas by celebrated writers and composers - like her future friends Gian Carlo Menotti, Charles Strouse, and Libby Larsen.

Arriving in Wilmington, Delaware in the fall of 1969, Evelyn describes her serendipitous encounter with Wilmington’s “Musical Man for All Seasons” and now “Chick” Laird opened the way to what became three decades of conducting and composing operas for OperaDelaware. Her career as a musical midwife ended, and her career as a composer began, in 1993 when she wrote lyrics and a musical score for Oliver Butterworth's popular story about a dinosaur named Beazley. Since then, "The Enormous Egg" has been preformed more than a thousand times in theaters around the world.

Evelyn has included 250 photographs of people and places, and more than a dozen of her colorful productions. Readers share the excitement of the performers and stagehands, hundreds of them - young and old, who produced the shows. They sense the delight of the thousands of patrons who came to see them. Evelyn remembers the name of each person pictured and fills her accounts with entertaining comments about them. The most endearing aspect of Evelyn's story may be its final section in which more than a dozen of her young stars describe how she passed her love of music to them.

About the Author:
Mary Evelyn Dickinson was born in Woodstock, Virginia in 1929. After graduating from Hollins College, she married the love of her life, Sigurd Swensson, and began a marriage that lasted 64 years. When their four children went to college, at the age of 40, Evelyn enrolled in the Masters of Music program at West Chester University. Since then she has earned a worldwide reputation as a composer of children’s operas and for conducting world premiers of her own works and the works of other notable composers.

Evelyn Swensson Booking Signing Dates August 04 2014

Come out to see Evelyn Swensson at one of her book signings!!
Sept. 20 Saturday-  Edinburg, VA Ole Time Festival -In the Mill 
Contact: Libby Rocco -Chairman

Sept. 27 Saturday-  Camden, SC-In the Douglas Reed House 
Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County
Contact:Kristen Cobb-Director

October 3 Friday- 5-7pm Pen Women Hardcastle Gallery, Centerville, DE
Oct.12 Sunday- After services -in the Auditorium
Aldersgate U.M. Church 2313 Concord Pike Wilmington DE
Contact-Rev. Chris Pennington , Minister

Oct. 18 Saturday- Swope Hall, Arts Building 7-9pm  
West Chester University Music Graduates Home Coming Party 
West Chester, PA  
Contact- Sara Botes, West Chester U. Foundation

Oct.26 Sunday- 4-6pm Opera Delaware Studios
4 South Poplar St  Wilmington, DE

Contact- Brendan Cooke, Director