Reid Concerts

The term ‘Reid Concerts’ is best described in the writings of Professor Donald Francis Tovey,  Reid Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh from 1914 to 1940:

"Since the establishment of the Reid Chair of Music … all concerts given under the direction of the Reid Professors of Music have been ipso facto Reid Concerts."  (Reid Concert programme, 21 October 1937)

The [Reid] Chair of the Theory of Music was established in the University of Edinburgh in 1839 according to the terms of a bequest from General John Reid.  One condition of the bequest was that an annual concert be presented by the Professor of Music in memory of General Reid, on his birthday,13 February. The first Commemoration Concert was given in 1841 under the direction of the first Professor of Music, John Thomson.  Its programme book is considered to be one of the first in the UK to offer analytical programme notes.  

From 1841 to the present day musical performances in the form of concerts and recitals, known colloquially as Reid Concerts, have been presented by the Department of Music (1841-1893)/Faculty of Music (1893-2003)/Reid School of Music (2003-present), at The University of Edinburgh.  
The Reid School of Music is a department within Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh.


From 1839 to 2012 there were only TEN [Reid] Professors of Music in The University of Edinburgh.
Since 2012 there has not been a Reid Professor of Music in post.

Each Professor of Music influenced the development of academic music and the performance of music in the University, through their personal interpretations of the wishes of their benefactor, General John Reid.  To the one annual concert in the early years were added extra concerts, organ recitals, historical concerts, orchestral and chamber concerts gradually developing into an annual series of concerts.   These all came to be known as Reid Concerts.

The archives of the University of Edinburgh house documentation relating to the University concerts from 1841, however, there are gaps during the 1850s, 1860s and 2000s for which some original material is unavailable. Evidence is not only in the form of printed programmes and newspaper advertisements but also in reviews and journal articles.