William Gilmer – Board Chair

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William Gilmer, a music educator, bassoonist, and conductor, recently moved to San Diego. He retired in June 2014 from a career as a music educator in Illinois for 33 years, the last 28 spent as the Director of Bands at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, IL. At Willowbrook he was responsible for the direction of three levels of concert band, a jazz band, the Marching Warrior Band, and the pep band. Further, he guided all of his students as they prepared chamber music and solo performances. The band program at Willowbrook was recognized as one of the outstanding programs in the state and was selected to perform at the conferences of the ASBDA, the NBA, the CBDNA as well as the ILMEA. The band also performed at the Bowling Green State New Music Clinic, the Western Illinois University Band Showcase, and the University of Illinois Superstate Band Festival. The band at Willowbrook was also active in commissioning several works for band including music by Augusta Read Thomas, Jonathan Newman, William Himes, and Robert Bradshaw. Bill was presented the Mary Hoffman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music Education by the ILMEA in January 2014. Following retirement he served as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in River Forest, IL and as the music director for the Des Plaines Community Band, Des Plaines, IL.

As a bassoonist, Bill played bassoon and contra bassoon with the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the West Suburban Community Band, and the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra. In San Diego he has been playing with the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra and the New City Sinfonia. He is actively working toward “getting his chops back into shape!” and finding other performance opportunities.

Bill holds both a Bachelor of Music Education degree and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Tulsa where he was named the Presser Scholar in music education. He earned his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and has done post-graduate work at the University of Illinois, Vandercook College of Music, and Northwestern.

He recently moved to San Diego where his wife Martha was appointed the CEO of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. They have three grown sons.