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.

The Stratosphere

High E-Flat, E, and F occupy an intimidating place in the bassoon range. I think this can be helped with some slightly off-the-beaten-path fingerings. Note that, like all extreme register fingerings, these don’t work equally well on every instrument. However, I’ve seen enough success with them, on enough different equipment, that I think they’re worth sharing.

Worth Keeping in Mind

  • Stiffer reeds work better in this register.
  • Keep your embouchure very close to the first wire, with very little overbite.
  • The vowel sound in your throat should be very closed (an “E” rather than an “O”).
  • These fingerings don’t respond well to heavy articulationair attacks are generally best.
  • Your air stream requires a bit of finesse in this registeryou can’t overblow.
This fingering is relatively easy to attack and can be reliably slurred to from the E-Flat fingering above.

This fingering is relatively easy to attack and can be reliably slurred to from the E-Flat fingering above.

To slur to an F, simply add the A key in the left thumb. The stiffer your reed, the more you can depress the key; with a reed that’s borderline, it’s best to barely depress the key. It cannot be articulated.

To slur to an F, simply add the A key in the left thumb. The stiffer your reed, the more you can depress the key; with a reed that’s borderline, it’s best to barely depress the key. It cannot be articulated.

Thanks to Bernard Garfield for these fingerings and to Bret Pimentel for his fantastic fingering diagram builder.