William Zeitler has been a musician since age 5, when a piano showed up at his house. Intrigued, he figured out how to climb up onto the bench in spite of his short legs, and started spending hours and hours trying to figure out how to play it. To preserve their sanity, his parents started William on lessons. When asked if his parents made him practice, he says: "No, my parents had to make me STOP!"
In high school, William built a harpsichord kit and played that too.
William went on to attend the California Institute of the Arts, where he earned a degree in harpsichord. An academic scholarship covered about half of his tuition—William earned the rest, plus his living expenses, as a professional musician.
William has been a professional musician ever since, except for a few years as a college mathematics instructor, and a few years as a software engineer at Microsoft.
In 1995 William chanced on a recording of music by Mozart and contemporaries for the glass armonica. “This is wonderful, I’m doing this!” The glasses for his instrument were blown by Gerhard Finkenbeiner in Boston, MA, and the rest fabricated by various artisans in the Seattle area where William lived at the time. It took a year to build his instrument. Then William had to figure out how to play it as he couldn’t find any teachers.
In November 2011 William performed on the glass armonica at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in their production of Lucia di Lammermoor (in the famous ‘mad scene’ there is an approximately 15 minute duet between the armonica and Lucia). William also plays the glass armonica for film scores—recently HBO’s Taking Chance.
William also composes film scores himself for educational and documentary films. The most recent, Entre Marte & Svalbard (Between Mars & Svalbard)—for which he composed the film score—aired on Portuguese national TV (RTP2) April 2012.William is also a member of ASCAP.
About the Glass Armonica
The 'glass armonica', which works on the 'wet-finger-around-the-wineglass', was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. It was very popular in Europe in Franklin's day—even Mozart and Beethoven composed for it. But musical fashions changed and it has been on the 'endangered musical instrument list' since the early 1800's. William is one of only a handful of professional glass armonica players worldwide.
To learn more about the glass armonica, visit William's website devoted to it: www.GlassArmonica.com