Notable clarinetist, performer, and pedagogue William (“Bill”) George Wrzesien passed away on January 24, 2020. He was born in Massachusetts on June 3, 1931 and quickly developed a prominent career as a multi-faceted musician.
From Polish descent, Bill taught at the New England Conservatory for over 40 years, from 1966 to 2007. He served as department chair for 28 of these years, both as a woodwinds faculty chair and NEC Preparatory woodwinds faculty chair. During his time at NEC, he completed a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Artist Diploma from the school.
Bill was principal clarinetist of the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Boston Ballet Orchestra. “He was a founding member of the Boston Music Viva Contemporary Music Ensemble, and performed as a soloist and chamber music player at major concert venues and festivals including Tanglewood, Marlboro, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the Arnold Schoenberg Institute at USC, ISCM World Music Days, Jeunesses Musicales Berlin, Brucknerfest, Edinburgh, and Holland Festivals. Throughout his career, he also served as principal clarinetist with the Handel & Haydn Society, the Opera Company of Boston Orchestra, the Boston Classical Orchestra, and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. He also served on the faculty of Boston Conservatory, University of Massachusetts/Lowell, and Longy School of Music.” (Source quote: https://necmusic.edu/news/remembering-william-wrzesien)
Let us celebrate the life, legacy, and music of this remarkable clarinetist.