American composer and conductor Herbert Owen Reed was born in Odessa, Missouri on 17 June 1910 and grew up in rural Missouri where his parents played old-time and popular music on fiddle and piano.
He studied music at the University of Missouri and Louisiana State University, where his composition teacher was Helen Gunderson. He then studied composition with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers and conducting with Paul White at the Eastman School of Music, and later at Tanglewood studied composition with Martinu and contemporary music with Copland, Bernstein and Stanley Chappel. His teachers also included Roy Harris (at Colorado Springs) and Arnold Schoenberg.
Reed taught at Michigan State University, and some of his students, including Loris Chobanian, David Gillingham and Adolphus Hailstork, have become known as composers and arrangers.
He studied the traditional music of North America, and some of this material is featured in many of his own works. His best known work is for concert wind band - La Fiesta Mexicana of 1949.
He lived until 6 January 2014, by which time he was one hundred and three years old.