Alfred Reed (1921-2005) was born in New York City. He studied composition at the Juilliard School with Vittorio Giannini after a tour in the US Air Force during World War II. He was later a staff arranger for NBC in the 1950s and a professor of music at the University of Miami from 1966 to 1993. He is remembered today as a distinguished educator, conductor, and composer. His impact was the greatest in the wind band world, where he left behind more than 100 frequently performed works. He was particularly popular in Japan, where he developed a close relationship with the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, and where many of his works are required literature for all bands.
A Festive Overture (not to be confused with Dmitri Shostakovich’s earlier Festive Overture) was published in 1963. It is vintage Alfred Reed, using a broad slow-fast-slow form with outstanding instrument-choir writing, clear and singable melodies, and a lot of instrumental color. Here it is in live performance by a Spanish band: