Timothy Reed: A Short Biography by Lorne Behrman

Thanks to Lorne Behrman for writing this wonderful short bio of yours truly. I hope you enjoy learning a little more about me. -Timothy Reed

There is a popular self-actualization quote that goes “You can always do more than you think you can.” Composer, pianist, singer, actor, writer, piano and voice teacher Timothy Reed embodies this spirit with his adventurous creativity. Currently, the Bloomington, Indiana-based multitasking powerhouse is readying a pair of distinct albums and a movie musical.

“Someone did my astrological chart once, and it was so complex that he said ‘How do you get up and be a normal person?’” says Timothy, laughing with self-effacing charm and warmth. “On my business card, it just says ‘Entertainer.’ What ties everything together is my desire to uplift, inspire people, and make the world a better place.”

There is a good chance at some point in your life you might be, or have been, six degrees away from experiencing Timothy’s work. He wrote a piece for virtuoso accordion player for Ann Randolph’s one-woman show, Squeeze Box, which had sold-out runs in New York, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Timothy previously was the co-writer, singer, and keyboardist for the progressive rock band Myriad Creatures who remain sporadically active to this day with occasional reunions. In November, 2017, they wrote, recorded, and released a new song, called Endless Rain. And Tim has appeared in over 60 musical theater, opera, and theater productions as a singer, actor, pianist, or musical director. In 2010, he released the imaginative and ethereal 18-track album Euphoric Owls, which features himself and the Brown Sisters: Lauren, Lilly, and Jenna, three of his tremendously talented students.

Somehow, he integrates into his work comedy, tragedy, and inspirations as vast as Monty Python, early Saturday Night Live, George Winston, Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Arlo Guthrie, Regina Spektor, Pat Metheny, and Victor Borge. His live shows exude a vaudevillian spirit—pairing comedic sketches with heartfelt musical performances, taking the ticket holder on a tour de force of the human spirit that’s invigorating and life-affirming.

Timothy currently is fixing to release three projects, including the albums Love Makes The World Go Round and Sit Bach and Relax, and the movie musical Childrenopolis which is co-written with David Heavener (David has previously directed Academy Award-winner Martin Landau and nominees Tony Curtis, Sally Kirkland, and Margot Kidder, Oliver Reed and Ernest Borgnine, among others).

In anticipation of Love Makes The World Go Round, Timothy issued the stirring standalone single “Dead Doll Eyes” which relates a narrative of a female sex abuse survivor. Co-written with an anonymous fan, and sung by frequent collaborator Ariel Herzberger—the song harnesses the dramatic and minor tonalities of classical music and the dynamic sweep of a theatrical arrangement. It’s a powerful track that exhibits an empathy that is seemingly unusual from a male artist. “I really prepared for this song like an actor embodying a character. I read up on the prevalence of abuse in our culture, and I tried to be open and let the emotions flow through me,” Timothy explains.

Love Makes the World Go Round is a majestic 15-song collection of songs with lyrics that features a lush production aesthetic. The album includes weighty emotive songs and light-hearted comedic tracks; in spirit it recalls Ben Folds, Simon and Garfunkel, and Arlo Guthrie. It’s co-produced with Chip Reardin, and the Brown Sisters and Ariel Herzberger are featured on many of the songs.

For the album, Timothy wrote or co-wrote all the songs. Highlights include the title track and “Falling in Love in the Fall.” The gospel-tinged title track opens with a lone baritone a cappella chant that is soon layered with mesmerizing harmony vocals. The song soulfully unfolds with tastefully grooving supportive accompaniment and church-rafter rattling female vocals, sung by Ariel. The arrangement is deceptively spare with just the right amount of flair, and the song concludes with a triumphant cadence before delicately melting away with a playfully catchy crystalline piano melodic motif. The song’s exhilarating resonance lends it a feeling that it’s instantly recognizable, so it comes as no surprise that the Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble picked it up for performance.

The impressionistic “Falling in Love in the Fall” features Timothy’s rich soaring vocals—sometimes in mesmerizing harmony—paired with a collection of classical-influenced motivic suites. With just voice and piano, he takes the listener on a journey to the rim of the heavens where love has such a hold on someone their feet don’t touch the ground.

Timothy’s second offering, Sit Bach and Relax, is a collection of slow meditative piano pieces written by written by J.S. Bach and other core classical composers performed with the intention to provide a calming and peaceful state for the listener.

Timothy’s upcoming movie, Childrenopolis, is a fantasy dramedy musical loosely inspired by La La Land and the Emma Watson Beauty And The Beast reboot. It’s about a utopian community of children who live in harmony in the hollow of the earth, but know about the hatred, war, and pollution infecting the earth’s outer shell. In the narrative, a select few make a goodwill ambassador pilgrimage to detoxify earth as we know it. Timothy co-wrote the screenplay, lyrics and music to the songs, and plans to play a lead role in the feature presentation. Childrenopolis will prominently feature the song “Love Makes The World Go Round.”

When Timothy is not juggling album projects and feature film writing, he is a private piano and voice teacher, an actor, and a writer. As a private piano and voice teacher, he has worked with hundreds of students in Columbus, Cleveland, and Athens, Ohio; Boston, Massachusetts; and Bloomington, Indiana. In this context, he is proud to pass on the traditions of some of the greatest pianists and singers of the 20th century. His principal piano teachers include Kurtz Helber, student of George Haddad; Nancy Bachus, student of Eugene List and Ozan Marsh; and Richard Syracuse, student of Rosina Lhevinne and Rosalyn Tureck. His principal voice teachers include Ira Zook, student of Richard Miller; and Michael Belnap, student of Luciano Pavarotti. In addition to these formative experiences, Timothy has enriched his musicality through jazz piano studies with Russell Hoffmann, and gospel piano and singing studies with Ethel Caffie-Austin. Many of his students have gone on to major in music or theater in college, and work professionally in the entertainment field. Three of his young sopranos have won first prize in the Indiana state finals of the National Federation of Music Clubs Vocal Solo Art Song Competition.

In addition to playing piano for his voice students, he has worked as an accompanist for many singers and instrumentalists while at Cleveland State University, Ohio University, and Indiana University.

Timothy’s favorite acting roles include Woof in a European Tour of the musical Hair, which he performed in Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland; Captain Richard Warrington in Naughty Marietta for Light Opera of Columbus, Ohio; Finian in Finian’s Rainbow in Athens, Ohio, in a production that included Ohio University students, community members, and patients at the Athens Mental Health Center, which took place outdoors on a picturesque hill by the magnificent 19th century buildings of the Center; and both musical director and the Priest, in the musical Man of La Mancha for the French Lick Hotel Theater, in French Lick, Indiana, which he considers one of the finest productions he has been part of. Within his acting work, Timothy draws on lessons gleaned from his acting teachers, which include Hal McCuen, Bekka Eaton, and Howard Jensen, and his time studying movement for the theater with Denise Gabriel and George Pinney.

Another favorite role was Ben Blenkinsop, the lead role in the world-premier of the musical Pollen, in Bloomington, Indiana. He also sang the tenor solo in the world premier performances of Sherman: Forced to War, with the Lancaster Chorale, one of the finest choirs in the US, in which he sang for 3 years; and as far as he knows was the first American pianist to perform English composer George Lloyd’s epic An African Shrine. He had a delightful Athens, Ohio to London, England phone conversation with Mr. Lloyd, while he was learning the work.

Select marquee moments in Timothy’s extracurricular work also include leading a choral ensemble for 17 years at Meadowood Retirement Community where he works with singers ranging from 70-100 doing music mostly from the 1920s to the 1950s, and his Monty Python-flavored hilariously absurdist film short Porcupine Stew, and in recent years he has been invited to read his poems at various poetry events in Bloomington, Indiana.

Surveying the scope of his work, and the many hats he wears in his life, Timothy says:
“Creativity is life affirming for me. It helps me stay whole and alive, and express my full range of emotions.”

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Lorne Behrman

About Timothy Reed

Timothy Reed is a composer, pianist, singer, actor, writer, and piano and voice teacher. In 2010, he released a CD entitled “Euphoric Owls”, which alternates between solo piano and piano with what he calls “ethereal voices”. Imagine George Winston meets Schubert and Chopin, often with soaring vocals, with Tim and the amazing Brown Sisters.