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William L. Reed

Will Reed was a gifted composer and Director of Music.

Dr William  Reed won the John Owen Osgood chamber music prize at Oxford in 1934 while on a classics Exhibition at Jesus College. Though not at that time a music student, he was interviewed by the Professor of Music, Sir Hugh Allen who encouraged Reed to apply for a scholarship at the Royal College of Music. There he studied composition under Herbert Howells and conducting under Constant Lambert, winning the Cobbett Prize.

From 1937 he spent two years in Scandinavia as a lecturer for the British Council. He was awarded his doctorate in music at Oxford in 1939. During the war years William Reed served in the London Fire Brigade. He also began composing for patriotic revues put on by Moral Re-Armament, the first being Giant Otherfellow. While still an undergraduate Reed had been introduced to the work of the Oxford Group (which became known as MRA from 1938) by fellow students he had known at Dulwich College. MRA’s founder Frank Buchman remained a life-long inspiration to him.

In 1966 Reed was appointed Director of Music at the newly enlarged Westminster Theatre Arts Centre. There he arranged a popular series of Sunday concerts given by such artists as Joseph Cooper, Eric Fenby, Imogen Holst, John Lill, Peter Katin and the Amici String Quartet. In 1968 he also arranged a series of concerts at the Purcell Room on the South Bank when the Canadian pianist Raymond Dudley played Haydn’s complete piano sonatas.

In 1983 Reed moved into the Mordern College retirement complex at Blackheath where he lived for almost twenty years. Six months ago he suffered a stroke and was moved to the nursing wing. He died at Mordern College on 15 April. He was unmarried.