STEWART, N. COE (1838-28 Feb. 1921), conductor, composer, and instructor, as director of music in the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, was responsible for implementing a highly successful music program in the 1870s. Born in Pennsylvania, Stewart studied music under Lowell Mason, a nationally recognized expert from Boston who, like Stewart, was a pioneer in emphasizing the value of music education in public schools.
Stewart took charge of music in the Cleveland schools in 1869 and instructed the system's 160 teachers on how to teach music, himself teaching choral music in Cleveland high schools. He was later president of the Music Teachers Assoc., an organization that was his idea.
Stewart was active in other areas of the city's music life. In 1881 he organized the Central Musical Assoc., a large choral group, and for 7 years was its conductor. In the 1890s, he became director of the Star Course concert series, which included, in 1892, the New York Symphony's first performance in Cleveland.
Stewart conducted a combined chorus from the Cleveland schools on many occasions, in 1874 directing a chorus of 1,600 children at SAENGERFEST, and directing 4,000 schoolchildren in 1893's Saengerfest. He presented a similar performance the following year for the dedication of SOLDIERS' & SAILORS' MONUMENT. He published widely circulated songbooks for children and systematic courses of elementary instruction in music.
Stewart and his wife, Gabriella, who organized series of winter concerts at the Music Hall, had 3 children: Gabriella, Esther, and William G. His daughter, Gabriella, assisted him in managing the Star Course series.