William Short

William Short was appointed Principal Bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 2012. He previously served in the same capacity with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with the Houston Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. William has performed as soloist with the Vermont and Delaware Symphonies, as well as the New York Classical Players.

A dedicated teacher, William serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Temple University, as well as the Verbier Festival and Interlochen Arts Camp. He has presented classes at colleges and conservatories around the country and at conferences of the International Double Reed Society, for which he serves as an officer.

William has also performed and taught at the Lake Champlain, Lake Tahoe, Mostly Mozart, Stellenbosch (South Africa), Strings, and Twickenham Festivals. An occasional editor and composer, his works have been published by the Theodore Presser Company and TrevCo-Varner Music.

Committed to forging connections between audiences and performers, William's articles on the subject can be found on the MET Orchestra Musicians' website, which has been lauded not only by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, but also by noted arts consultant Drew McManus and prolific cultural commentator Norman Lebrecht.

William received his Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Daniel Matsukawa and Bernard Garfield, and his Master of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Kamins. He attended festivals including the Music Academy of the West, Pacific Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Verbier Festival. Additional major teachers have included Jeanine Attaway, Kristin Wolfe Jensen, and William Lewis.

The Pipeline

While my tendency in practicing is to overdo things, for years my “system” of reed making was defined by avoidance. I really didn’t know how to make a reed. So, knowing that I had very little chance of success, I just didn’t make them (incidentally, this is my current approach to cooking). I played on a succession of reeds that I prayed wouldn’t give out, until I finally reached a point at which I embarrassed myself more than I was willing to accept. This was not sustainable.

I decided that I would work on reeds every day, even if I only had a few minutes. On especially busy days, I might ream out a single blank and call it quits. But I figured, even that one action would set me up ever-so-slightly better for the next day. It didn’t change my life overnightwith reeds, few things do. But as time went on, I came to realize that, for the first time, I didn’t feel like I was constantly scrounging, constantly worrying about when my one reed would finally die on me.

Since then, my needs, both in quantity and quality of reeds, have increased, as has my ability to make them. I’ve arrived at a system, roughly outlined in the infographic below (click to enlarge). Is it the right system for everyone? Of course not. But it works for me, and it represents important lessons that took me way too long to figure out.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.