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.

A dedicated teacher, William serves on the faculties of The Juilliard SchoolManhattan School of Music, and Temple University. He has presented classes at colleges and conservatories around the country and at the 2014 International Double Reed Society Conference.

William has performed and taught at the InterlochenLake ChamplainLake TahoeMostly MozartStellenbosch (South Africa), StringsTwickenham, and Verbier Festivals. In 2015 he made his solo debut with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, performing David Ludwig's Pictures from the Floating World.

William has toured the United States with Curtis on Tour and has performed and taught in Belize, Cuba, Guatemala, and Nicaragua with the Philadelphia-based wind quintet Liberty Winds. His performances have been featured on American Public Media's “Performance Today” and on WHYY’s “Onstage at Curtis.” An occasional composer, his works have been published by 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 FestivalSpoleto Festival USA, and the Verbier Festival. Additional major teachers have included Jeanine AttawayKristin Wolfe Jensen, and William Lewis.

Letting Go

Before this blog goes any further, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the sensational Katie Jordan for her remarkable editorial prowess. Without her discerning eye, this blog would be, well, a mess. (Full disclosure: she’s also my fiancée.) Now, on to our regularly-scheduled blog post…

“You will make mistakes. There’s just no substitute for experience.” When I won my job, this was the advice my mentor and friend Daniel Matsukawa offered. What’s stuck with me the most about it is its implied self-forgiveness.

Everyone makes mistakes. Intellectually, it’s easy to understandobvious, even. In practice, it’s tough to accept. What helped me in this regard was a simple idea: If I’ve worked as hard as I can and I still don’t play as well as I would like, then I’ve ultimately done nothing wrong.

My thinking went like this: I showed up at the audition. I played my best and the committee decided to hire me. Preparing all these operas, I worked as hard as I was physically capable, and if there were times when I still fell short, well, there was nothing more I could have done.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated when I make mistakes. I do. But we have to get past sub-par performances and focus on long-term musical development. This development doesn’t happen in a linear way. I’ve grown a great deal over the last two and a half seasons, but that doesn’t mean that each of my 300 or so performances at the Met have each gotten progressively better. Continual improvement is a messy, inconsistent process. It requires constant work, for both physical and mental well-being.

That's the most important part of this, and I think it bears repeating. Letting yourself off the hook is contingent on working very, very hard. There’s simply no substitute for doing everything in your power to make tonight go well. If it doesn’t? Let go of it and do better next time.