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.


I’ve previously mentioned my fondness for taking breaks after busy periods of preparation and performance. In day-to-day practicing and reed-making, hard work must be balanced with equally “intense” relaxation. This is also true on a larger scale, and given that I played my last notes for some time just a few days ago, this seems like a good time to discuss the benefits of putting the instrument away for extended periods.

I love taking time off. I just think it’s healthy, not only physically, but mentally. As hard as I try to make it otherwise, my day-to-day musical successes and failures inevitably come to define how I perceive myself over time. I find myself measuring my self-worth by my musical progress, which is fundamentally nonlinear, inconsistent, and subjective.

By contrast, when I allow myself time away from the instrument, I am reminded what it’s like to be a “real person.” I relearn that the instrument does not define who I amthat I’m a person separate from the trials and tribulations of making music. And when I eventually return to the instrument, after a brief period of awkward reacquaintance, I find that tension that gradually built up over time has dissipated and my passion for making music has been replenished.

After all, who doesn’t treasure the rare occasion in which we can fly without taking our instrument along? Who doesn’t enjoy taking a night (or a week) to actually socialize, particularly with (perish the thought) non-musicians? Who doesn’t feel a palpable sense of relief when we release ourselves from the grip of practice guilt?

Of course, everyone is different. For a lot of people, “taking time off” means practicing a little bit every day. Perhaps you like to only play every other day. Different instruments have different physical demands, which affects the amount of time those respective instrumentalists can comfortably take off without losing significant ground. Regardless of the specific form a break takes, I do feel strongly that taking time to relax and replenish is vital to one’s mental and musical health.

I’m very much looking forward to my bassoon’s reemergence when I’m refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges of the rest of the summer and the season to come. But for now, I’m delighted to bid it farewell.

(I’ll keep blogging, though.)