Reginald Stewart papers
- Stewart, Reginald (Person)
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3.79 Cubic Feet (1 oversize legal box, 1 full-size legal box, 1 half-size letter box, 3 large flat boxes, 3 medium flat boxes, 1 small flat box)
Biographical / Historical
Reginald Stewart’s career as a piano soloist, chamber musician, and teacher is extensive. He was the pianist of the Hambourg Trio from 1921 to 1928, made his solo debut in London’s Wigmore Hall in 1924, and made his American debut in New York City’s Town Hall in 1937. Stewart also made multiple appearances in Toronto from 1926 to 1928 with the Five Piano Ensemble. Stewart taught piano at the Canadian Academy of Music from 1921 to 1924, and from 1930 to 1940 he taught piano and conducting at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. He continued to tour as a piano soloist, making appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Stewart recorded works of Chabrier, Godowsky, Rubinstein, and Schumann for Victor in 1938, as well as seven albums of solo piano works for Educo.
His career as a conductor was equally impressive. While in Canada, he conducted an operetta company he co-founded called the Savoyards from 1919 to 1927, an ensemble on CNRT radio in 1925, the Imperial Oil radio orchestra from 1929 to 1931, the Canadian Industries Ltd. Opera House of the Air in the 1930s, the Toronto Bach Choir from 1933 to 1941, the Opera Guild of Toronto in 1936, and the Toronto Promenade Symphony Orchestra from 1933 to 1941. After coming to the United States, he conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1940–1941 and 1945 and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 1942 to 1952. He also guest-conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in 1930, the NBC Radio Symphony in 1935, the State Symphony Orchestra in Athens, Greece, in 1954, the CBC Symphony Orchestra in 1955–1956, and the Stratford Festival in 1956.
Reginald Stewart succeeded Otto Ortmann in 1941 as the Peabody Institute’s fifth director. The Institute flourished under Stewart’s leadership from both musical and administrative standpoints. Stewart eliminated racial segregation at the Peabody Conservatory, the Peabody Preparatory, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts. Stewart's position at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra also allowed for unique collaborations between the orchestra and Peabody, including a Brahms festival during the 1946–1947 season. Peabody received full accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music in 1950, and membership in the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools was granted in 1955. In 1952, the Candlelight Concerts replaced the Peabody Institute’s Friday Afternoon Artists recital series. Stewart organized his professional "Little Orchestra" for this series. In 1949 Stewart established an annual contemporary music concert of American composers. In 1956 this concert became a two-day festival run by Peabody professor Henry Cowell.
Stewart resigned from his position as Peabody’s director in 1957. In 1958 he began a South American and European concert tour as a conductor and pianist. He moved to Santa Barbara, California, and became artist-in-residence and head of the piano department at the Music Academy of the West in 1962. He died in Santa Barbara in 1984.