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Reginald Stewart papers

Identifier: PIMS-0059

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  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Reginald Stewart papers, 1911-1984, contain personal papers relating to Stewart’s extensive music career as a conductor, pianist, and administrator. Series 1 contains scrapbooks with newspaper and magazine clippings relating to Stewart’s performances, his teaching career, and his students. Series 2 contains various concert programs from Stewart’s performances along with correspondence. Series 3 includes photographs of Stewart with family and friends, and attending performances. Lastly, series 4 contains two 7-inch reel-to-reel tape copies of Stewart’s 1957 Peabody commencement address.


  • Creation: 1911-1984


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Peabody Archives. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

Conductor and pianist Reginald Drysdale Stewart (1900-1984) began his musical life as a boy choir soloist at St. Mary’s Anglican Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. One of Stewart’s first music instructors was his choirmaster at St. Mary’s, H.T. Collinson. Stewart moved to Toronto, Canada, in 1921. He later studied music in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and Isidor Philipp, as well as in England.

As a pianist, Stewart performed with 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. He 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, and recorded seven albums of solo piano works for Educo.

Stewart had a lengthy career as a conductor. 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 director of the Peabody Conservatory. The Conservatory received full accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music in 1950 and became a member in the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1955. Racial segregation at the Conservatory officially ended during Stewart's tenure.

Stewart's position at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra allowed for unique collaborations between the orchestra and Peabody, including a Brahms festival during the 1946–1947 season. In 1952, the Candlelight Concerts replaced the Peabody Institute’s Friday Afternoon Artists recital series. Stewart organized his "Little Orchestra" of professional musicians 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.

For more information on Stewart's role in the desegregation of the Peabody Conservatory, see Sarah Thomas, "A Message of Inclusion, A History of Exclusion: Racial Injustice at the Peabody Institute," Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowship paper, Johns Hopkins University, 2019.


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)

Language of Materials



Reginald Stewart was a Scottish-born conductor and pianist who served as director of the Peabody Conservatory from 1941 to 1957 and music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 1942 to 1952. His papers include scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, and recordings related to his career.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Reginald Stewart and Delphine Stewart Barroll Kelly in 1983.

Existence and Location of Copies

Transcription disc recording and CD copy of Stewart's 1957 Peabody Conservatory commencement address available in the Peabody Institute sound and video recordings collection, PIRG.13.01.

Processing Information

Processed by Nathan Cornelius in 2016.

Guide to the Reginald Stewart papers
Kerri Sheehan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2024-03-25: Biographical note revised by Matt Testa in 2024. The previous note claimed "Stewart eliminated racial segregation at the Peabody Conservatory, the Peabody Preparatory, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts." The full story is more complicated.

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA