In honor of the lives and legacies of Philip & Helena Swanson, Janet Romanishin established the Philip & Helena Swanson Fund. This fund helps provide support to the NFA's Lesson Scholarship Program so that gifted, low-income students from around the country are able to take private lessons for free.
Philip Swanson had an extensive career as a professional orchestral flutist, university professor, solo and chamber music performer, private and masterclass teacher/clinician and as a university music/fine arts administrator. Philip Swanson was the first Treasurer of the National Flute Association (1972-75) and charter member of the board of directors that created the NFA’s by-laws, incorporation, and non-profit status. He was co-program chair for the first annual convention in Anaheim, California and established the NFA Music Library at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has served on many NFA committees and performed and hosted panels at numerus NFA Conventions.
Philip studied with Joseph Mariano, at the Eastman School of Music and taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the University of Arizona, the University of the Redlands, and Northern Arizona University. He has played with numerous symphony orchestras, including the San Antonio Symphony, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Arizona Opera Orchestra, and the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Philip was a beloved teacher, mentor, and friend to generations of flutists, and they became an important part of his family. He is remembered for his enthusiasm, encouragement, caring, and especially his sense of humor.
Helena was born in Connecticut to German immigrant parents, and moved in childhood to Dallas, Texas. She completed a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Texas, and went on to teach high school English in San Antonio, where she met her musician husband. They subsequently lived in many places (Rochester, NY, Redlands, CA, Flagstaff, and many years in Tucson).
Helena had a beautiful singing voice, and sang in many musical groups throughout her life. She also became an important part of her husband's musical endeavors as a flute teacher/performer, and because of her love of music and learning, she encouraged others in this area. In addition, because of her outgoing personality, enthusiasm and caring nature, she always encouraged and helped others to be the very best they could at whatever they were doing.