Ernest Reeves (1874-1940)

Ernest Reeves was a popular composer of light music in the early twentieth century.  This was a time when live music for dances was in constant demand and sheet music was selling well. He composed songs, dance music and marches. His compositions were played around the country at dances and balls, including at the Chelsea Arts Ball.  He also arranged marches for small orchestras and military bands.

Some of Ernest’s compositions listed in his own handwriting.

Ernest Reeves wrote under a number of different names as well as his own including Allan R. Camerone, Leo Justine, Fabian Scott, René Dubois, Frank Marden, Paul Peronne, Marcel Plon, Leon de Verre, Gladys A. Wood.  He used these different names to enter competitions for prize money, which he often won.  On one occasion he won the sum of £50, which represented a large amount at that time.  This extra money supplemented his regular income from piano tuning and piano maintenance.

Ernest Reeves’ daughter Betty (1913 -2001) inherited some of his musical gifts writing light piano music and tutors for learning to play the piano.  She had lessons from James Ching  and gave a successful piano recital in the Wigmore Hall in March 1939.  She left behind a collection of her father’s sheet music; also manuscripts for orchestral arrangements and a number of old newspaper cuttings relating to his career as a composer.  She wrote a personal account of her father Ernest’s life, which is included in this website.

Ernest Reeves obituary in the magazines Musical Opinion and The Strand, written in June 1940 following his death, note his involvement with the Performing Rights Society of which he was a founder member.