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.

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.