Bill Bennett has died at 56, following a cerebral hemorrhage on stage at San Francisco Symphony this past Saturday.
I know I've written before about how regular SFS audience members feel about the individuals in the orchestra: they're our home team, our players, the pride of San Francisco. We follow their careers, their solos, their triumphs. We feel as though we know them, even though we don't, really. We know their artistic personalities and how they present on stage.
Bill Bennett seems to me to have always been a cheery and friendly presence on stage, chatting with the other wind players before a concert, warming up, playing his gorgeous solos. I simply can't imagine what it's like to play with someone for decades - he'd been a Symphony member since 1979, which must have been right out of school - and lose him under these circumstances.
This is a sad, sad day for Bill Bennett's family and friends, his colleagues at SFS, and his many students. My deepest condolences to all.
Bennett at a rehearsal