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Reed, Alfred (1921-2005) | University of Miami Finding Aids

Name: Reed, Alfred (1921-2005)

Historical Note:

Alfred Reed was a native New Yorker-born in Manhattan on January 25, 1921. His parents loved good music and made it part of their daily lives; as a result, he was well acquainted with most of the standard symphonic and operatic repertoire while still in elementary school. Beginning formal music training at the age of ten, he studied trumpet and was playing professionally while still in High School. He worked on theory and harmony with John Sacco, and continued later as a scholarship student of Paul Yartin.

After three years at the Radio Workshop in New York, he enlisted in the Air Force during World War II, and was assigned to the 529th Army Air Force Band. During his three and a half years with this organization, Alfred Reed became deeply interested in the Concert Band and its music. He produced nearly 100 compositions and arrangements for band before leaving the Service. Following his release, he enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music as a student of Vittorio Giannini. In 1948 he became a staff composer and arranger with NBC and, subsequently, ABC in New York, where he wrote and arranged music for radio and television, as well as for record albums and films.

In 1953 Mr. Reed became conductor of the Baylor Symphony Orchestra at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, at the same time completing his interrupted academic work. His Master's thesis was the “Rhapsody for Viola and Orchestra,” which later was to win the Luria Prize. It received its first performance in 1959, and was published in 1966. During the two years at Baylor he also became interested in the problems of educational music at all levels, especially in the development of repertoire material for band, orchestra and chorus. This led, in 1955, to his accepting the post of editor in a major publishing firm. He left this position in September, 1966, to join the faculty of the School of Music at the University of Miami, as Professor of Music, holding a joint appointment in the Theory Composition and Music Education Departments, and to develop the Unique Music Merchandising Degree Program at that institution.

With over 200 published works for Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Chorus and various smaller chamber music groups, many of which have been on the required performance lists, Dr. Reed was one of the nation's most prolific and frequently performed composers. His work as a guest conductor and clinician has taken him to 40 states, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and South America, and for six consecutive years, six of his works have been on the required list of music for all Concert Bands in Japan. He left New York for Miami, Florida, in 1960, where he has made his home ever since. In the Fall of 1980, following the retirement of Dr. Frederick Fennell, Dr. Reed was appointed conductor and music director of the University of Miami Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Sources: Biography taken from his conductor score to J. S. Bach's Sleepers, Awake!

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