Mary Davenport Engberg

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Mary Davenport Engberg, also referred to as Mary Davenport-Engberg and Madame Davenport-Engberg (15 February 1880 in Spokane – January 23, 1951 in Seattle) was an American violinist, composer and conductor.

Born to George A. and Mary Cornwall in a covered wagon en route from California to Washington state[1] she was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Santell Davenport following the death of her mother.[1] A cousin of the pianist Ethel Newcomb, she studied in Europe for 5 years, chiefly in Copenhagen with Anton Svendsen and Christian Sandby.[2] On August 8, 1899 she married Henry Christian Engberg of Bellingham, Washington state.

She made her debut as a violinist in 1903 in Copenhagen and toured extensively in Europe. In 1904 she gave a concert in New York, and went on to perform largely on the West Coast of the USA. She made her debut as a soloist in Seattle on December 13, 1908, when she soloed with the Seattle Symphony at a Sunday afternoon pops concert at the Moore Theatre.[3]

In 1912, she returned to Bellingham to teach at the State Normal School there.[1] Engberg went on to organize the 85-member Davenport Engberg Orchestra in Bellingham. She led its opening concert in 1914.[1][4] From 1921 until 1924 she was music director of the Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra she founded for the purpose of developing orchestra players for the Seattle Symphony from the ranks of local students.[5] She also taught violin extensively. Her compositions include pieces for violin.


  1. ^ a b c d "Mary Davenport-Engberg revives Seattle Symphony Orchestra in concert at Metropolitan Theatre on April 24, 1921.". The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  2. ^ Saerchinger (1918)
  3. ^ "Farewell Concert: Last Sunday Afternoon 'Pop' of the Season to Be Given This Afternoon; Mme. Engberg, Soloist," Seattle Times, 13 December 1908, p. 38. "Last Popular Concert of the Season," Seattle Times, 14 December 1908, p. 9.
  4. ^ Hartman, Holly (2003). Girlwonder. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. p. 197. ISBN 0-618-31939-5. 
  5. ^ Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 24 April 1921


  • Knighton, Elizabeth (2008). We Shall Play Music: Mary Davenport Engberg as a Pioneering Conductor and Educator in the Pacific Northwest. M.A. thesis. University of Washington.