William Bender grew up just south of Nashville, Tennessee. He started playing the viola at Vanderbilt University’s Blair Academy at age thirteen. After studies at The Juilliard School and Cleveland Institute of Music, Mr. Bender joined The Philharmonia Orchestra in London as Assistant Principal Viola under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen. With The Philharmonia, Mr. Bender performed in many of the great concert halls of the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Japan, China, and South Korea. Concurrently, he regularly performed chamber music concerts as part of the Philharmonia Chamber Players and worked on new compositions through the orchestra’s “Music Of Today” series. Mr. Bender has played Principal Viola with The Philharmonia, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Echor Music, and London Concertante. He joined the viola section of The Cleveland Orchestra in November 2021, under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst.
As a teacher, Mr. Bender has coached the students of Oberlin Conservatory, Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, Trinity-Laban Conservatoire, the Australian Youth Orchestra, and the Colombian Youth Philharmonic.