Will was a pupil at Dulwich College, on the Classical Side (1922 – 1929). He played piano there at concerts (solo, also accompanying Kenneth White – a brilliant violinist). He gained an Exhibition in Classics at Jesus College, Oxford 1929, and gained a B.A. in Classics 1933. Gained Education Diploma at Oxford, 1934. In January 1933 spent a term in practice teaching at Emmanuel School, Wandsworth. Met the music master Norman Newell there, and attended many of his music classes there.
On the return for his last term at Oxford, a prize was offered (the John Lowell Osgood Prize) for a composition of chamber music. He submitted a Sonata for Violin and Piano, although he had little experience in composition, and was not a music student at the University, but to his surprise the Prize was awarded to him! Sir Hugh Allen, the Professor of Music at Oxford, interviewed him and suggested he applied for a scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London (of which Allen was Director), which he did, and was accepted as a pupil of Dr Herbert Howells. He was with Howells for a wonderful two years (1934-1936), during which time he wrote many compositions, many of which were to feature on the BBC. In 1936 was given a travelling scholarship at the R.C.M. and decided to go to Scandinavia and Finland. There he met Sibelius at the composer’s home in Jarvenpaa, who very kindly signed a copy pf the miniature score of the Fitfh Symphony for him. Worked freelance for the British Council in Scandinavian countries and Finland in 1936 and again in 1937. He was taught conducting by Constant Lambert (1905-51)
Returning to London in 1937, he worked full time with the Oxford Group. Received his Doctor of Music degree in 1939 from Oxford University. During the Second World War, he helped with a musical play Giant Otherfellow, which was given many performances at the Headquarters of Moral Re-Armament to packed audiences. Recitals for 2 pianos were also given there by Delphine Becker and him. In 1955 the musical play The Vanishing Island – libretto by Peter Howard, music by George Fraser and Will Reed was devised at Deelwood, New York State, and launched in California (Santa Barbara, April 27th). It toured the world by air on 3 planes with full cast, conducted by Will Reed, from pre-recorded orchestral accompaniment.
After the death of Frank Buchman in 1961, he moved to Headquarters in London, was appointed Director of Music at the Westminster Theatre (purchased by MRA in 1946) and arranged many concerts there, given by distinguished artists such as Joseph Cooper, Nelson Freire and Robert Layton.
After relinquishing his post as Director of Music at the Westminster Theatre, he began taking classes in Adult Education with the Workers Educational Association, which he continued for many years, before retiring in 1997.
Will made a solo world tour in 1965, giving lectures on British Music, using long playing records. He travelled by ship via South Africa owing to war in Egypt. He was in Australia, travelling there by train, including beautiful Tasmania. This was followed by a flight to New Zealand, where he toured extensively by coach and made a day trip to Stewart Island.
In 1983, Will moved to Morden College retirement home, arranged concerts by well known artists there, and himself gave several lecture recitals there, which concluded in 1997. Will Reed kept a daily diary since 1 January 1942.
Link to Guardian Obituary: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2002/apr/25/guardianobituaries
Link to Independent Obituary: (Link may not work)
The Times obituary, and "Lives remembered". Click on photo for larger copy.