William Bennett (1956-2013)

Just a brief note that Bill Bennett, the long-time principal oboist in the San Francisco Symphony, passed away earlier today.  A cancer survivor, he suffered a brain hemorrhage onstage while performing Strauss’ Oboe Concerto this past Saturday.

The Symphony’s official statement can be read here.

This is a great loss for the oboe world, the music world, and the whole world.  Though I never knew Mr. Bennett personally, he has been a student, teacher, and mentor to several of my own friends, colleagues, and teachers.  He was a kind person and spectacular musician.  His artistry absolutely sparkled in the orchestra, and his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony remains one of those few moments that truly inspire me as an oboist.

I am so humbled to belong to the community of oboists and orchestral musicians whose outpouring of kindness and condolences reminds me why I love what I do.  The music world is so small and so close-knit, each of its members only six degrees separated from the next — such that the loss of one deeply affects all of us.

RIP William Bennett.

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