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 Lake 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.

On Defacing Great Art

Now, for a light interlude: the greatest (and I mean greatest) insult I’ve ever gotten from a conductor.

It was my first year at Curtis, and I was playing second bassoon on a reading of Pulcinella and Mozart 39 with the great Otto-Werner Mueller conducting. Now, the slow movement of the Mozart has this itty bitty second bassoon solo (in A-Flat major)…

…which I was playing, shall we say, carefully. Mueller is known for demanding very (some would say absurdly) soft dynamics; meanwhile, I was just trying to adjust to the demands of my new school. So I was taken aback when we stopped and he gestured toward me, saying in his inimitable (actually, highly imitable) German accent, “Mmmmm…a bit more from the second bassooooon.”

Mona Lisa.jpg

I was thrilled. I thought, “Wow! Mueller asked me to play louderthat never happens!” I took my newfound confidence and not only played louder, but juiced up my vibrato as well. I was feeling good.

Then we stopped again. With a twinkle in his eye, Mueller rumbled, “Perfect…” (Awesome!) “…if we were playing Pathétique Symphony of Tchaikovsky. It is like you took the Mona Lisa, painted over it in neon colors, and ATE IT WITH WHIPPED CREAM.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the single greatest insult I’ve ever gotten from a conductor.