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.

Release

“Don’t think of the moment when you throw away a reed as a point of failure. Think of it as a point of release, because that reed is out of your life forever.”

As discussed before, having had a fatalistic attitude toward making reeds, I would go for unconscionably long stretches without making any. Half of the solution was committing myself to a regular schedule of reed-makingthe pipeline. The other half was an attitude shift.

The above is advice Ben Kamins gave to me during one of my summers at the Music Academy of the West. Over time, it has revolutionized my concept of success and failure in reed-making. I no longer measure success by the number of reeds that pan out. My feeling of competence has nothing to do with whether or not any particular piece of cane turns into a usable reed. Moreover, if I’m making reeds regularly, I’m rarely so desperate as to be wholly dependent on the outcome of a single day’s work.

Instead, I derive the most satisfaction from clarifying where I stand. Sure, confirming that I have some good pieces of cane is great, but so is weeding out those pieces of cane that will never, ever pan out. We’ve all had the experience of hacking away at reeds that simply won’t change. While the time spent on those can easily become frustrating, I'd rather find comfort in throwing them in the trash. (Incidentally, that’s the eventual fate of all of my reeds, except for the few on which I won jobs, which I keep for sentimental reasons.) I love knowing, at the end of the day, that I’ve narrowed the field to only my best prospects.

Even in “dry spells,” this attitude, coupled with my annual reed experiment, gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve collected data and reconfirmed a standard for what’s acceptable and what isn’t. There's a certain comfort in ruthlessly adhering to that standard.