Popular trombonist dies in summer accident

Popular trombonist dies in summer accident


norman lebrecht

August 05, 2014

There’s widespread mourning in the brass world for Bill Zehfuss, principal trombone of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Tributes are pouring into his Facebook page.

Reports suggest that he drowned in Lake Lanier while water-skiing. We have not been able to confirm this.

The orchestra has posted this notice:

It is with great sadness that we inform you all that Bill Zehfuss, long-time principal trombonist of the CSO, passed away last Thursday at his home on Lake Lanier, GA. This is a tremendous loss for the CSO. Those of us who knew and worked with Bill over these many years will sorely miss his dedication to his craft, his generosity, his gregariousness, and his willingness to help anyone at any time, no matter the situation or the need. Bill was a pillar of the CSO brass section for nearly three decades, leading his colleagues in many fine performances over the years. His presence, both on- and off-stage, will be terribly missed. The family will likely have a private memorial service at some point this fall. Condolences may be sent to his Mother via the CSO offices.


bill zehfuss







  • Celia Jelley says:

    Bill was larger than life and although I did not know him much at all, I understand he was one of the nicest folks around. He was a mainstay on the faculty at Brevard Music Center for decades, starting out there as a student, as I did, well before that. Lost track of him and was just at the Music Center last Friday, wondering what he was doing post-Brevard. Sadly, I now know that by then he had already departed this world, seemingly under tragic circumstances. RIP my friend. We miss you, taken all too soon.

  • Wilson Ochoa says:

    A concerto has been commissioned from composer James Stephenson to be written in memory of Bill Zehfuss. It will be a Concerto for Low Brass (3 trombones and tuba) to be premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra on a date yet to be determined. 150 of BIll’s friends raised the money for the commissioning fee through a successful Kickstarter campaign.