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Reed, H(erbert) Owen

Reed, H(erbert) Owen

Reed, H(erbert) Owen , American composer and music educator; b. Odessa, Mo., June 17, 1910. He was educated at the Univ. of Mo. (theory and composition, 1929–33), La. State Univ. (B.M. in theory, 1934; M.M. in composition, 1936; B.A. in French, 1937), and at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (Ph.D. in composition, 1939), where his mentors included Hanson, Rogers, and McHose. He pursued further studies at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood (summer, 1942) with Martinû, Copland, and Bernstein and in Colorado Springs (summer, 1947) with Roy Harris. Subsequently he studied folk music in Mexico (1948–49; 1960), the Caribbean (1976), and Scandinavia (1977), and also native American music in Ariz. In 1939 he joined the faculty of Mich. State Univ., where he was chairman of its theory and composition dept. until 1967; he then was chairman of music composition from 1967 until his retirement as prof. emeritus in 1976. In 1948–49 he held a Guggenheim fellowship and in 1960 a Huntington Foundation fellowship. His textbooks have been widely used. In his compositions, Reed generally has followed a tonal course with later diversions into nontonal pathways.


A Workbook in the Fundamentals of Music (1947); Basic Music (1954); Basic Music Workbook (1954); Composition Analysis Chart (1958); with P. Harder, Basic Contrapuntal Technique (1964); Basic Contrapuntal Workbook (1964); with J. Leach, Scoring for Percussion and the Instruments of the Percussion Section (1969; rev. ed., 1979); with R. Sidnell, The Materials of Music Composition (3 vols., 1978, 1980, in progress).


DRAMATIC: The Masque of the Red Death, ballet-pantomime (1936); Michigan Dream, renamed Peter Roman’s Dream, folk opera (East Lansing, Mich., May 13, 1955; rev. 1959); Earth Trapped, chamber dance opera (1960; East Lansing, Mich., Feb. 24, 1962); Living Solid Face, chamber dance opera (1974; Brookings, S. Dak., Nov. 28, 1976); Butterfly Girl and Mirage Boy, chamber opera (East Lansing, Mich., May 1980). ORCH.: Evangeline, symphonic poem (Rochester, N.Y., March 30, 1938); 2 syms.: No. 1 (Rochester, N.Y., April 27, 1939) and No. 2, La fiesta mexicana, Mexican folk-song sym. (1968; also for Band, 1949); Overture (1940); Symphonic Dance (1942); Cello Concerto (1949); Overture for Strings (1961); The Turning Mind (1968); Ut Re Mi for Orch. and Taped or Live Men’s Voices (1979; also for Wind Ensemble and Taped or Live Men’s Voices, 1980). B and: Spiritual (1947); La fiesta mexicana, Mexican folk-song sym. (1949; also for Orch., 1968); Missouri Shindig (1951); Theme and Variations (1954); Renascence (1959); Cheba-kun-ah (Road of Souls) for Wind Ensemble and String Quartet (1959); The Touch of the Earth for Concert Band (1971; also for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Concert Band, 1972); For the Unfortunate for Concert Band and Tape or Chorus (1975); Ut Re Mi for Wind Ensemble and Taped or Live Men’s Voices (1980; also for Orch. and Taped or Live Men’s Voices, 1979); The Awakening of the Ents for Winds and Percussion (1985); Of LothlÓrien for Winds and Percussion (1987). CHAMBER: String Quartet (1937); Scherzo for Clarinet and Piano (1947); Symphonic Dance for Piano and Woodwind Quintet (1954); El Muchacho for 7 Handbells and 3 Percussion (1965); Fanfare for Remembrance for 6 Trumpets, Flugelhorn, Percussionist, and Narrator (1986); piano pieces. VOCAL: A Psalm of Praise for Soprano and 7 Instruments (1937); Wondrous Love for Tenor and Woodwind Quintet (1948); Ripley Ferry for Women’s Voices and Wind Septet (1958); A Tabernacle for the Sun, oratorio for Contralto, Chorus, Speaking Men’s Chorus, and Orch. (1963); Rejoice! Rejoice! for Soloist, Chorus, Taped Chorus, Vibe or Bells, and Double Bass (1977); other choral pieces and songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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