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.

Magic Number 17

Since this is a boring (but important) topic, I’ll try to make this as concise as possible. Last season, I tracked the hardness of all 441 reeds I clipped.

The readings ranged from 8 (hardest) to 23 (softest). (Note that the higher the number, the softer the cane.) The results were simple: I had no success with any piece of cane that read 17 or higher. On the other hand, even the hardest pieces of cane occasionally worked.

Every hardness tester is differentthe same piece of cane will yield different readings on different machines. However, I have noticed that the range from high to low numbers (15, or 23 minus 8) stays remarkably consistent from machine to machine, and the relative “point of no return” (about nine above the low, or “hardest,” number) also stays relatively consistent.

In other words, your machine might measure readings from 14 to 29 (which has a range of 15), in which case the point of no return would be 23. Each machine has to be tested, but they all seem to roughly fall into the “framework” outlined above.

There we goas painless as I could make it. The experiment was absolutely worthwhile, since now I can throw away around 20% of my cane after testing.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments—I intentionally simplified both the experiment and the results for readability.