Woman of the Century/Amanda Carlson Swenson
SWENSON, Mrs. Amanda Carlson, soprano singer, was born in Nykiöping, near Stockolm, Sweden. When fourteen years old, her possession of a rare voice was discovered by her friends. Her mother was a widow in moderate circumstances, with seven children to support, and there was little hope of her receiving a musical education The young girl built air-castles and dreamed of a fair future. When she was sixteen, Rev. Mr. Ahlberger, of her native town, determined that she should have a musical education. He secured the cooperation of some ladies and noblemen of the vicinity, and she was sent to the conservatory in Stockholm, where in three years she was graduated with honors, winning two silver medals. AMANDA CARLSON SWENSON. While there, she realized her childhood's dream of singing before the king and queen of Sweden. She remembers, with some pardonable pride, one occasion when she sang with the crown prince, now King Oscar, president of the conservatory. A few years after graduation, at the suggestion of her former teacher, Prof. Gunther, she accepted the position of first soprano in the Swedish Ladies' Quartette, then arranging for its tour. On the eve of departure a farewell concert and banquet, given in her honor, showed the esteem in which she was held by her native town. Giving their first concert with great success in Stockholm, the quartette started on their tour June 7th, 1875. Their route lay through Norway, Nortland and Finland, thence to St. Petersburg, where they remained three months, giving public and private concerts and meeting many European celebrities. They spent two months in Moscow, receiving cordial welcome and entertainment. They visited Germany, Bohemia, Holland and Belgium, spending the summer on the Rhine. At Ems they met some Americans, who persuaded them to visit America. Soon after their arrival, Max Strakosch engaged them for a concert in New York. From that time their success in America was assured. They sang with Theodore Thomas in all the large eastern cities, and in several concerts with Ole Bull in the New England States. Afterwards they made a tour of the United States, receiving welcomes in all the cities. Giving their last concert in San Francisco, Cal., they returned to Chicago, Ill., where they separated. Miss Carlson was persuaded to remain in the United States, and she spent the next two years in Reading, Pa., where she held the position of first soprano in the Episcopal Church. Then she was married, and, her husband's health requiring change of climate, they removed to Kearney, Neb., where, after five years, Mrs. Swenson was left a widow with two daughters. She is a genuine artist and has done much to raise the standard of musical culture in the city which has been her home for twelve years.