Robert Williams has been Principal Bassoonist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since September of 1974. Prior to that appointment he was solo bassoonist with the Winnipeg Symphony, Winnipeg CBC Orchestra, Colorado Philharmonic, and Tucson Symphony. He has also played summer engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra and Boston Symphony at Tanglewood.
In addition to his duties with the DSO, Williams plays in the CutTime Players, the Neo-Bubonic Bassoon Quartet, the DSO Bassoon Quartet, the DSO Woodwind Quintet, the Bellingham Music Festiva,l and the Grand Teton Music Festival. He teaches at Wayne State University and has been on the music faculties of the Aspen Music School and Festival, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the Grand Teton Orchestra Training Institute, Claremont Music Festival, and the Utah Music Festival. He has also given master classes at Tanglewood, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the University of Arizona.
He has been a featured guest artist at the University of Nebraska, Bowling Green State University, Arizona State University’s “Bassoon Days” in 2003, Fresno State University’s “Double Reed Days” in 2000, and the Glickman-Popkin Double Reed Camp in 1997. He played a joint recital with DSO Principal Oboist Donald Baker at the 1998 International Double Reed Society convention in Evanston, IL.
Williams can be heard on all of the DSO recordings conducted by former Music Director Antal Dorati, including the award winning Rite of Spring and on the Chandos recordings led by Neeme Järvi. Fox Products released the new Neo-Bubonic Bassoon Quartet recording in 2003. He has just finished a new CD “Romanze of Weissenborn” of the works of Julius Weissenborn for bassoon and piano released on the Equilibrium label.
A native of Tucson, AZ, he graduated with honors from the University of Arizona and did post graduate work at the University of Southern California. His major bassoon teachers include Wendal Jones, Leonard Sharrow, and Norman Herzberg.
He lives in Northville with his wife, English hornist Treva Womble and son Trevor. When not practicing or making reeds he enjoys fly-fishing and tying flies. Together Treva and Bob are owners of Womble/Williams Double Reeds, a home business that specializes in products for the oboe and bassoon. They are authorized Fox dealers, produce bassoon cane and sell supplies for both oboe and bassoon. Their web site is www.womblewilliams.net. Williams plays on a Fox model 601 bassoon, serial number 40,004 built in South Whitley, IN, in 2005.