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La Fiesta Mexicana

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In 1948, Reed received a Guggenheim Fellowship to compose a symphony for band in Mexico. He has said: "After hearing much infectious music in Mexico City, Curenavaca and Chapala, and reading Stuart Chase's Mexico, I decided to write a Mexican folk song symphony depicting a typical fiesta." He transcribed the opening El Toro march upon hearing it in Cuernavaca and bought the Aztec Dance from an ethnomusicologist who had collected Aztec folk music in the mountains. He used the chant from the Liber Usualis in the second movement, and incorporated a commonly played mariachi tune, El Son de la Negra, in the third. It has become his best known and most widely performed work, including performances with dancers, costumes and staging. Raised in rural Missouri, Reed attended Eastman School of Music and studied composition with Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and Arnold Schoenberg, among others. He taught at Michigan State University from 1939 to 1976, and since then has served as professor emeritus. --James Huff 05:01, November 22, 2009 (UTC) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)

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