Death of a flute legend, 85

Death of a flute legend, 85


norman lebrecht

May 13, 2022

We have been notified of the passing of William Bennett, one of the most admired and prolific flute virtuosos on record.

Bennett, known as Wibb*, made more than 100 albums as soloist or as principal flute with major UK ensembles, most notably with the English Chamber Orchestra. He covered all periods from baroque to contemporary. At the time of his death he was president of the British Flute Society.

The son of two architects he studied in Paris with Fernand Caratgé, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Marcel Moyse.

* His full name was William Ingham Brooke Bennett


  • Westfan says:

    He was also a marvelous teacher, his students came from all over the world to study with him. He leaves a wonderful legacy. Here is a clip of a masterclass.

    • Westfan says:

      Should also include that he studied with Geoffrey Gilbert, another renowned flutist and marvelous teacher. Their legacy continues on through their students, and beyond!

  • Alexy says:

    Very sad news. A great artist, a gentleman and a fantastic teacher. He will be very much missed.

  • Graham Clarke says:

    Listen to his marvelous playing of the Sinfonia movement that opens Bach’s Cantata 209 “Non sa che sia dolore” on Elly Ameling’s recording with the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields conducted by Neville Marriner.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Perhaps the most influential teacher of the last century.

    He took what Geoffrey Gilbert and Rampal gave him, absorbed the French School and then made it International.

    He has great students in all continents and has made his dent in the music world.

    A life well lived.

  • Michael Turner (conductor) says:

    I had the absolute privilege of conducting performances with him of the Chaminade Concertino and the Bach Orchestral Suite No.2 when I was a student. He was supportive (giving me little nuggets of advice) appreciative and, of course, gave outstanding performances. An thorough artist and gentleman. RIP.

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    RIP ‘WIB’ as he was affectionately known. I met him several times. Charming guy & great player- although a totally different one to his rival Galway.

    • Gerry McDonald says:

      Why do you say they were rivals. I believe they have always been great friends, Wibb gave Galway work early in their careers, and they were joint principals of the LSO for a while.

  • Gregory Lindsay says:

    A demigod amongst other flute players, perhaps the greatest flute player this century who will join the ranks of Moyse and Rampal.

  • Mary says:

    His grasp of making the most MUSICAL, GORGEOUS flute sound, IN TUNE surpasses most, if not ALL other flutists, FULL STOP. WITHOUT EGO he made any and all ensembles… he was a member of … ECO, ASMF LSO an ensemble that clung to his genius.