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. He is the bassoonist in the Gotham Wind Quintet.

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 Consistency

My favorite thing about writing is that it’s permanent. I write, I refine, and when I’m satisfied with what I’ve written, I post it. From that point on, it is unchangingwhatever level I attained will remain perpetually unchanged. Not so with music. Music requires continual reinvention, constant proving of oneself. The old axiom, “A musician is only as good as his [or her] last performance” is devastatingly true. So our primary goal, in every aspect of our performance, is consistency.

By consistency I don’t mean playing exactly the same, night after night. In a way, consistency is simply the groundwork for the ability to embrace the constantly-shifting nature of making live music. As I asked in my last post, why do we spend so much time on scales and long tones and etudes, on self-reflection and reed-making, on internalizing the language of music? To enable our deeper musical abilities. The sensitivity to adapt is facilitated by the confidence that comes from a firm foundation.

This goal defines what it means to be professional: the ability to make music at a high level, night after night. In our pursuit to consistently attain this level, I believe the majority of our work is not aimed at improving our best performances. Although they do undeniably improve over time, most of our day-to-day work is focused on improving our base level (or, more negatively, our worst) performances. From technical woodshedding to quantifying and recreating musical inspiration, our goal, through all the sweat and tears (and, if you make reeds, occasional blood), is to improve our worst days to the point that they are indistinguishable from our best daysperfect consistency. Ultimately impossible? Yes, but it’s sure to keep us occupied.