Eva Engdahl was a musician and a composer. Using the pseudonym of Marie Adams she served as a prominent band leader.
Eva Engdahl was born in Västerås in 1924. She took piano lessons with Karl Wohlfart and Gottfrid Boon at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm. She also took lessons with Jules Gentil at École Normale de Musique de Paris in France. Her debut as a concert pianist occurred at Stockholms Konserthus in 1944.
Eva Engdahl often performed as a soloist in the ensuing years, playing classical piano pieces. She toured throughout Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Germany. In addition to classical performances Eva Engdahl also played jazz music, particularly music by George Gershwin. This likely makes her the first professional female Swedish jazz pianist – and one of the few to master both classical and jazz music.
Eva Engdahl’s son Georg “Jojje” Wadenius was born in May 1945. His father, Gösta Wadenius, disappeared from the family just a few years later. Georg Wadenius began studying medicine but, since the late 1960s, he has become one of the most prominent Swedish rock, pop and jazz guitarists. Georg Wadenius was largely brought up by his maternal grandmother given Eva Engdahl’s frequent absence on tours and the total lack of a father. Georg Wadenius has described his childhood in various interviews as “growing up under a piano” and further recounted how his mother was hardly present during his younger years.
Eva Engdahl was frequently engaged by Sveriges Radio. She often performed on radio, playing both classical and popular music. At this time it was still considered inappropriate, within the radio world, for a woman to be playing jazz music – there were hardly any female jazz musicians in Sweden – and to make a distinction between her two professional identities Eva Engdahl assumed the pseudonym of Marie Adams.
As Marie Adams Eva Engdahl was one of the most prominent band leaders and accompanists within Swedish popular music during the 1950s. She toured the public parks, served as band leader for Den norske Amerikalinje, toured with Casinorevyn, and was the artistic director of the Bacchi Wapen pub in Stockholm. Eva Engdahl’s work with Sveriges Radio meant that she also began to work on TV, initially on the very first test-programmes aired by Sveriges Radio in 1954 and then from 1956 onwards as part of regular TV-programmes.
In 1968 Eva Engdahl left Stockholm and her life as a freelance musician in order to live on a farm in Folkärna, near Avesta in Dalarna. She spent the rest of her professional life as a music teacher in Avesta although she still performed concerts. In 2012 she was honoured with the erection of a memorial plaque in Avesta town square.
Eva Engdahl died in 2018, aged 93.