It is with heavy hearts that we share news of the sudden passing of CCM Professor William Winstead, a cherished member of both the CCM family and the Greater Cincinnati arts community. After a period of hospitalization, Bill passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 12.

CCM Professor of Bassoon William Winstead.

CCM Professor of Bassoon William Winstead.

Appointed as professor of bassoon at CCM in 1989, Bill was a dedicated member of our faculty for 30 years. A recipient of UC’s Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award, he guided multiple generations of students towards successful careers as performers and educators. In December of 2017, many of our alums traveled great distances to return to campus to participate in a special CCM concert celebrating Bill’s 75th birthday. Prior to his appointment at CCM, he was a faculty member at Oberlin Conservatory, Florida State University and West Virginia University.

Bill also performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for over 30 years before retiring as Principal Bassoon in 2018. At the time of his retirement, the majority of the bassoon section of the CSO consisted of his former students.

In addition to his performance career, Bill was also an accomplished composer whose music has been performed by ensembles like the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1976, he received an NEA grant for a bicentennial work for narrator and orchestra.

When the CSO celebrated its 125th birthday weekend this January, the performance opened with the world premiere of Bill’s “Passages in Time,” which was commissioned specifically for the anniversary celebration. The performance celebrated multiple generations of CSO musicians and featured the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra in addition to current Orchestra members. Enthusiastically received by the audience, that recent performance truly spoke to the breadth of Bill’s influence and legacy.

A native of western Kentucky, Bill began his musical training as a pianist and composer before studying the wind instruments. He later received the Artist Diploma and the BM degree in bassoon from the Curtis Institute of Music and the MM degree in theory and composition from West Virginia University.

Read Janelle Gelfand’s “Lives Remembered” piece on William Winstead in the Cincinnati Business Courier.

A public visitation will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23, in Corbett Tower at Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street (45202). A funeral will follow at 6:30 p.m.

Please remember that the entire CCM Family is here for you during this difficult time. Also remember the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) resources available to all students 24/7 at or 513-556-0648.

Please join us in sending your thoughts, prayers and condolences to Bill’s friends and loved ones. Bill enriched our entire community with his presence and he will be greatly missed.

One comment

  1. So sad to hear the news of Bill’s passing. I was one of the first students to study with him at West Virginia University. He was a recent graduate of Curtis Institute who came to WVU to work on a MM in compostion. He was a brilliant musician and composer who will be greatly missed.

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