William Winstead: Passages in Time

Earlier this month, we lost a cherished member of our Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra family, William Winstead, who passed away after a brief illness. As Principal Bassoonist from 1987 until 2018, Bill was a beloved and dedicated member of the Orchestra who approached his music-making with a spirit of camaraderie, integrity and great passion. He was also an accomplished composer, and in January, at our 125th anniversary concerts, the combined forces of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra gave the world premiere of Passages in Time. Bill considered this work his crowning achievement, and it is in his memory that we share the recording.

William Winstead

Born: December 11, 1942, Hopkinsville, KY
Died: February 12, 2020

Former CSO Principal Bassoon, 1987-2018

Passages in Time


  • Work composed: 2019
  • Premiere: These performances are the work’s world premiere.
  • Instrumentation: 3 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, chimes, 2 crotale, 2 crash cymbals, glockenspiel, high hat, snare drum, suspended cymbals, tam-tam, tenor drum, 3 triangles, water gong, wood block, 2 harps, celeste, organ, strings, second orchestra (Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras [CSYO])
  • Duration: approx. 10 minutes

In the Composer’s Words

For a recently retired member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, it is an extraordinary honor to have been asked to compose music for the opening of the orchestra’s 125th anniversary concert. Maestro Langrée challenged me to produce a composition which celebrates the CSO’s glorious Past, Present and Future. For one composer that might be just a short fanfare; for me, a significant and meaningful task.

The ceremonial beginning of Passages in Time relives the grand harmonic and melodic style of a past century, including conversations with a familiar personality of theaters of the era, the majestic pipe organ. Irresistibly, the focus turns toward the Present as an intimate encyclopedic examination of the make-up of today’s ensemble begins in kaleidoscopic spotlights of mood, style and color. All the while, juxtaposed echoes of past harmonies and rhythms enhance present ones. Nearly every facet of the roster is visited, and eventually, with the return of sweeping gestures and fanfares, the glorious Future approaches—now embracing the musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras (CSYO) in an antiphonal spiral of unfolding flourishing dialogue.

Nonetheless, in a concurrent celebration of my own personal time with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Passages in Time honors the memory of William H. Loring, the man who succeeded in making my musical career happy and productive for a virtual lifetime.
—William Winstead