Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Remembering William Bennett

Remembering William Bennett photo IMG_20130506_155828_zps373a462e.jpgMonday afternoon I attended the memorial service in Davies Hall for the San Francisco Symphony's principal oboist William Bennett. He passed away in February after suffering a brain hemorrhage & collapsing on stage while performing the Strauss Oboe Concerto. Those present looked like a typical subscription series audience & filled much of the orchestra & 1st tier seats. We saw a video of Mr. Bennett's life, which included his cartoons & paintings as well as pranks in which he filmed himself doing silly things like simultaneously brushing his teeth & playing the oboe.

Colleagues, friends, & family spoke, & members of the Symphony performed. Though they tried to keep the mood light, many speakers had to choke back tears. Mr. Bennett's son Daniel spoke, as did Mr. Bennett's sisters Nancy & Jean. A speaker who did not identify himself rushed onto the stage waving his arms over his head & described attending Mr. Bennett's performance of the Strauss Concerto the evening before he collapsed. MTT drew expressions of approval from the back of the auditorium when he stated that "c-natural is the worst note on the oboe."

Remembering William Bennett photo IMG_20130506_173002_zps9cbb719b.jpgThe audience applauded each speaker & performance. A man ran up & down a center aisle looking for a seat during the 1st musical selection, & I heard someone's cellphone ring. Attendees signed a guest book for Mr. Bennett's family & received a CD containing Mr. Bennett's solo performances with the Symphony, including his February 22nd performance of the Strauss Concerto. His playing will be greatly missed.

§ Remembering William Bennett
Words and Music to Celebrate a Life
Monday, May 6, 2013 at 4:00
Davies Symphony Hall

Video: Remembering William Bennett
Videography by Nancy Bennett and Scott Altomare

Opening Remarks: Sakurako Fisher, SFS President

Mendelssohn: Andante con moto tranquillo,
    from Piano Trio No.1 in D minor, Opus 49
Alexander Barantschik, violin
Amos Yang, cello
Robin Sutherland, piano

Remarks: Brent Assink, SFS Executive Director

Mozart: Larghetto, from Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K.581
    Luis Baez, clarinet
    Alexander Barantschik, violin
    Amy Hiraga, violin
    Yun Jie Liu, viola
    Peter Wyrick, cello

Remarks: Rob Weir, SFS Bassoonist

Brass Quintet (arr. Robert King)
Praetorius: Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen
Brahms: Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen, Opus 122, nO.8
    Robert Ward, horn
    Mark Inouye, trumpet
    Guy Piddington, trumpet
    Timothy Higgins, trombone
    John Engelkes, bass trombone

Remarks: Roger Phelps, friend of the Bennett family
Members of the Bennett family

Closing Remarks: Michael Tilson Thomas, SFS Music Director

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