Principal, Edo de Waart Chair

(February 28, 2013) The San Francisco Symphony is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Principal Oboist William Bennett. Read complete statement.

William Bennett is Principal Oboist of the San Francisco Symphony and occupant of the Edo de Waart Chair, a position he has held since 1987. He joined the Orchestra in 1979 as Associate Principal to Marc Lifschey. A regular soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, in 1992 he gave the world premiere of John Harbison’s Oboe Concerto with Herbert Blomstedt conducting—music commissioned for him by the SFS and which Mr. Bennett went on to perform with the Orchestra on tour in Carnegie Hall and throughout Europe, including performances in Vienna and London. He recorded that work with the Orchestra for Decca. Mr. Bennett’s other solo performances with the SFS have included Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto, in which he is again featured at these concerts, Francaix’s The Flower Clock, and the Mozart Oboe Concerto, as well as concertos by Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Barber, Martin, and Cordero-Saldivia.

Mr. Bennett has appeared in solo recital, concerto, chamber, and orchestral engagements throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He has performed at the Marlboro Festival, the Festival de Inverno in São Paulo, the Aspen Festival, and at the Berkshire Music Center and Music@Menlo. He has been soloist and woodwind coach with the Asian Youth Orchestra. An active soloist in the Bay Area and Northern California, he has performed numerous concerts with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Parlante Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Parnassus, and the orchestras of Berkeley, Fresno, Modesto, Napa, Santa Cruz, and Stockton. He is frequently featured in his own realizations/transcriptions and orchestrations of such works as the lost Beethoven Concerto and music by Debussy, Ellington, and Pasculli.

A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Bennett studied oboe with Robert Bloom at Yale and at the Juilliard School of Music. He serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Recordings featuring William Bennett as soloist are available at the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall, and online at

(February 2013)

Please wait...