H. Owen Reed

From Wind Repertory Project
H. Owen Reed


Dr. H. Owen Reed (17 June 1910, Odessa, Mo. – 6 January 2014, Athens, Ga.) was an American composer and educator.

Dr. Reed enrolled in the School of Music at the University of Missouri in 1929 but transferred in 1933 to Louisiana State University. There he received his Bachelor of Music (1934) and his Master of Music (1936), both in music composition, and a Bachelor of Arts (1937) in French. In 1937 he enrolled at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and received his Ph.D. in music composition in 1939. In addition to his composition study with Helen Gunderson at Louisiana State University, Dr. Reed studied composition at the Eastman School of Music with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers, conducting with Paul White, musicology with Howard Gleason and theory with Allen I. McHose. In the summer of 1947, he studied composition with Roy Harris at Colorado Springs. In 1942, at the Berkshire Music Center (Tanglewood), he studied composition with Bohuslav Martinu, and contemporary music with Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and Stanley Chappel.

Dr. Reed retired in 1976 after 35 years from Michigan State University as Professor Emeritus. He was chairman of Music Composition in the School of Music and served as Acting Head in 1957-58. Dr. Reed's published compositions include a variety of works for orchestra, band, voices, opera, and chamber music, plus eight books on music theory and composition.

Dr. Reed spent six months (1948-49) in Mexico composing and studying folk music and returned to Mexico for a month's study in the summer of 1960. His best known work, La Fiesta Mexicana, dates from this period. He also continued his study of folk music in the Caribbean in February 1976, the summer of 1977 in Norway, and extensive study of Native American music in New Mexico and Arizona.

He has been a member or officer of a number of regional and national music organizations including the Music Teachers National Association, where he served as Chairman of the Theory-Composition Section. He is a member of ASCAP, The American Music Center, The Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (Honorary Member), and a member of the National Council of the National Association of Composers, USA. He is also an Orpheus Award member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and recipient of the National Arts Award from Sigma Alpha Iota.

Works for Winds


  • H. Owen Reed website Accessed 10 February 2022
  • Berz, William. Considering H Owen Reed Tempo, 59 (1), October, 2004, 22-24.
  • Berz, William. (2004). “H. Owen Reed.” In A Composer’s Insight, Volume 2, Timothy Salzman, editor. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications. pp. 152–170.
  • Berz, William. (2004). "An overview of H. Owen Reed's music for wind ensemble." Journal of Band Research 40, no. 1 (Fall 2004), pp. 1-21.
  • Boonshaft, Peter L. (1998). "A conversation with H. Owen Reed." The Instrumentalist 53, no. 2 (September 1998), pp. 44, 46, 50, 52.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 659.
  • Syler, James. Interview with H Owen Reed Ballerbach Music Web-Site Interviews Page.