Freer, Eleanor Everest
- Sylvia Eversole
(b Philadelphia, May 14, 1864; d Chicago, Dec 13, 1942). American singer, composer and writer on music. She played the piano, sang, composed and performed from an early age. After initial study at home with her musician parents, she travelled to Paris in 1883 to study singing with Mathilde Marchesi, composition with Benjamin Godard, and art song interpretation with Herbert Bemberg, Widor and Massenet. She became the first qualified teacher of the Marchesi method in the USA. After teaching privately in Philadelphia and at the National Conservatory, New York, she married (1891) and moved to Chicago, where she became a prominent organizer of and participant in cultural and philanthropic events. She also pursued further composition study with Ziehn (1901–7). An advocate of opera sung in English, she founded the Opera in Our Language Foundation, which later became the American Opera Society of Chicago. Her tireless efforts to gain recognition for American composers included the establishment of the David Bispham Memorial Award to motivate the composition and performance of American opera. A prolific writer, she wrote numerous articles championing American teachers, performers and composers. Her book, ...