In Tribute to William Bennett

William Bennett served as Principal Oboist of the San Francisco Symphony and occupant of the Edo de Waart Chair from 1987 until 2013. He joined the Orchestra in 1979 as Assistant 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, 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 SFS for Decca. Mr. Bennett’s other solo performances with the San Francisco Symphony included Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto, Francaix’s The Flower Clock, and Mozart’s Oboe Concerto, as well as concertos by Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Barber, Martin, and Cordero-Saldivia. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Bennett studied oboe with Robert Bloom at Yale and at the Juilliard School of Music. He served on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The Bennett family has requested donations in Bill’s memory be made to the San Francisco Symphony, c/o Julie Ambrose, Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102. Inquiries may be directed to Julie Ambrose at (415) 503-5407 or

Caring Bridge Website

The Bennett Family has created a page at, where visitors can leave messages in an online "guestbook". Visit site.

Tribute Event 

A tribute event was held at Davies Symphony Hall on May 6, 2013 at 4pm at Davies Symphony Hall. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony musicians, board, and staff hosted this event to salute Bill's life and family with words and music.