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.

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.