Thursday, October 15, 2009

William Reed

William Reed (William Henry Reed) was an English violinist, teacher, composer, and conductor born on July 29, 1876 (Brahms was 43 years old.) Though he was concertmaster of the London Symphony for 23 years (1912-1935) and had a very busy career as a violinist, he is now best remembered as Edward Elgar’s biographer (1936.) Reed studied under Emile Sauret at the Royal Academy of Music (London.) In 1904, Reed was one of the founding members of the London Symphony. By 1910, he was assisting Elgar with technical problems in his violin concerto. Reed even played the concerto in a public performance of the work (off Broadway, so to speak) on September 4, 1910. The concerto was later dedicated to Fritz Kreisler, who premiered it on November 10, 1910 (presumably with the Royal Philharmonic in London.) Reed taught violin at the Royal College of Music for many years, where one of his pupils was the mother (Jean Hermione Johnstone) of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the popular music composer. Reed composed works large and small, most notably a violin concerto and a viola concerto which are now never performed. Reed died in Scotland on July 2, 1942, at age 66.

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