Robert Williams

Artist Picture

Robert Williams


Principal Bassoon

DSO member since 1974

Robert Williams has been the Principal Bassoonist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since September of 1974. Prior to that he was Principal Bassoonist of the Winnipeg Symphony, Winnipeg CBC Orchestra, Colorado Philharmonic and Tucson Symphony. He has also played engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra and Boston Symphony.

In addition to his duties at the Detroit Symphony, Robert plays in the DSO Bassoon Quartet, the DSO Woodwind Quintet and the Bellingham Festival of Music. 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.

Robert has been a featured guest artist throughout the United States. He 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 his Neo-Bubonic Bassoon Quartet recording in 2003; and his CD of the works of Julius Weissenborn for bassoon and piano was released in 2006.

A native of Tucson, AZ, Robert graduated with honors from the University of Arizona and did post graduate work at the University of Southern California. His major bassoon teachers included Wendal Jones, Leonard Sharrow, and Norman Herzberg.

Robert lives in Northville with his wife, former DSO English hornist Treva Womble. When not practicing or making reeds, he enjoys astronomy and biking. Bob is the owner of Womble/Williams Double Reeds—a home business that specializes in bassoons, cane and supplies. His website is

Robert plays on a Fox model 601 bassoon, serial number 55,555—built in South Whitley, IN, in 2012.