Edwina Eustis



Competition Winner

Born: September 1, 1908 (New York, NY)

Died: March 3, 1997 (Southbury, Connecticut)

Edwina Eustis (Dick), contralto, was also a pioneer in the field of music therapy. A native New Yorker, at 16, she won a scholarship to the Juilliard School where she earned a degree in vocal performance. She also attended the Curtis Institute and was a winner of a Naumburg Award in 1931. During the late 1920s through the 1950s, she enjoyed a substantial opera and concert career touring North America.

From 1930-32, she was a member of the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company where she performed roles: Maddalena in Rigoletto, Margret in Wozzeck, Marthe in Faust, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and in The Ring Cycle. She was also a regular soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra during the 1930s. Ms. Eustis portrayed Amelia's friend in the world premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti's Amelia Goes to the Ball on April 1, 1937 at the Philadelphia Academy of Music.

In addition, Ms. Eustis performed with opera companies in New York City, Detroit, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans, among others. She also performed with many of the leading US orchestras singing under Stokowski, Toscanini, Reiner, Iturbi and Mitropoulos. The New York Times stated she "possessed one of the most richly satisfying mezzo-soprano voices of our time."

In the 1930s, she worked with the Musicians Emergency Aid to help create jobs for unemployed musicians. She also helped special education children in a New York Public School. During World War II she traveled throughout the world performing in more than a 1,000 United Service Organizations concerts during a 30 month tour to all five Atlantic and Pacific theatres. She sang in church services with chaplains and for the wounded in hospital wards. She retired from her performance career in the late 1950s.

Following World War II, Eustis devoted much of her time and interests towards the study of "music therapy" a term that wasn't even in wide use at that time. In the late 1940s she undertook a pioneering project at a Long Island hospital to explore the therapeutic role music could play in treating the mentally ill. She continued to work actively as a music therapist for many years. An annual scholarship in her name is offered by the American Music Therapy Association.

Following her marriage to attorney Alexander C. Dick, she performed and used the name Edwina Eustis Dick. With her husband, she was a founding member of the American Symphony Orchestra organized by Leopold Stokowski.

In 1990, the Connecticut General Assembly honored "her long and successful career in music, her generous donation of time and talent to improving the lives of others, as well as her distinguished career in public service" and In 1995, Edwina Eustis Dick received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the College of Charleston.


1931 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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