Discipline: Music Composition

Leah Reid

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: Woburn, MA
MacDowell Fellowships: 2017, 2023

Leah Reid is a composer, sound artist, researcher, and educator, whose works range from opera, chamber, and vocal music, to acousmatic, electroacoustic works, and interactive sound installations. Her primary research interests involve the perception, modeling, and compositional applications of timbre. In her works, timbre acts as a catalyst for exploring new soundscapes, time, space, perception, and color.

Reviews have called Reid’s works “immersive,” “haunting,” and “shimmering.” She has won numerous awards, including the the American Prize, first prizes in the KLANG! International Electroacoustic Composition Competition and Musicworks’ Electronic Music Competition, Sound of the Year’s Composed with Sound Award, IAWM’s Pauline Oliveros Award, and second prizes in the Iannis Xenakis International Electronic Music Competition and the International Destellos Competition, among others.

Reid has worked with and received commissions from ensembles such as Accordant Commons, Blow Up Percussion, Concavo & Convesso, Ensemble Móbile, Guerilla Opera, the Jack Quartet, McGill’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, Neave Trio, Sound Gear, Talea, and Yarn/Wire. Her compositions have been presented at numerous festivals, conferences, and in major venues throughout the world, including those in Portugal, Argentina, England, Germany, Chile, Ireland, France, Italy, Japan, Brazil, China, Australia, Canada, and Taiwan.

While at MacDowell in 2017, Reid worked on a composition for four sopranos. The work explores the sounds and rhythms present inside Gertrude Stein’s poem “Apple” from Tender Buttons. In 2023, she worked on a composition for saxophone and electronics as part of her Guggenheim fellowship project. The work will be premiered at The Cube (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA) in September, 2023.

Made at MacDowell

Fellow Works Supported by MacDowell

Jouer (Music composotion)



Leah Reid worked in the Watson studio.

Built in 1916 in memory of Regina Watson of Chicago, a musician and teacher, this studio was donated by a group of her friends, along with funds for its maintenance. Originally designed to serve as a composers’ studio with room for performance, Watson was used as a recital hall for chamber music for a…

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