When did you first realize you
wanted to become a musician?
My desire to become a musician was
a process. I started playing tuba in the
seventh grade because my brother played
it. I was very competitive, so I practiced
until I was better than him.
I made
All Region and All State honor bands
throughout high school, but the most
powerful impact on my development
happened when I went to Interlochen
in the summers of 1988 and 1989. It’s
a great camp that has been training
musicians since the mid-1920s.
What is your favorite piece to
perform and direct?
Perform … I have been fortunate to
be in an orchestra performing
Symphony No. 2
three times. That has
to be one of my all-time favorites to
play. Of the smaller works, I have a
soft spot for John Rutter’s
. As a
conductor, I absolutely love conducting
Gustav Holst’s
Suite No. 1 for Military
Band in E flat
What is your favorite
instrument to play?
It depends on the day of the week! I
love to play the tuba; that’s the one I play
the best. My favorite, though, is probably
the French horn (Thank you, Mahler,
Strauss and Brahms). My next favorite
would be the cello. I fell in love with
Cello Concerto
in high school
and I’ve had the opportunity to play in
orchestras performing this piece a couple
of times. Perhaps I’ll be conducting it
Why did you begin teaching?
My junior high school band director
assured me that I would be a music
teacher one day. He said I had it in me
(Thanks, Mr. Clark). Of course, I didn’t
believe that, nor did I want to, despite
the fact that I was regularly tutoring
young players. I wanted to play in an
orchestra for a living. I believed that was
my destiny if I practiced hard. Still, I
was persuaded to get an undergraduate
music education degree just in case. Flash
forward and I was actually confronted
with a choice in 1999, after finishing
grad school. I won a symphony gig in
Little Rock and was offered a high school
teaching job within a two-week span. The
high school job kept me in Cleveland
with better pay and opportunities to work
freelance. I’m happy to say that I chose
teaching and I fell in love with it.
You have performed with many
professional orchestras and
toured worldwide. How do
Williamsport and Lycoming
College compare?
What is going on in Williamsport
with the symphony and also the College
is special. I can run down the list of
orchestras I’ve played with over the
last 20 years and many of them exceed
the level of virtuosity that we have
here. However, chemistry is an important
factor. What I sense in the Williamsport
Symphony that I do not sense as strongly
anywhere is the desire to “be there”
for one another. All of us play because
we love the music, but we also work
hard for our friends. The College has
similar traits. Most of the people I work
with at Lycoming College care about
everything that goes on here, not just
their area. The faculty friendships are rich
and genuine. This is not the chemistry
I’ve observed at other schools. If I
could choose one word to define these
institutions, I would choose the word
About Ciabattari
Dr. William Ciabattari was appointed
director of bands at Lycoming in 2006.
He is the conductor of the concert band,
jazz ensemble and pep band; he teaches
courses in instrumental conducting,
music theory and music education. In
addition, Ciabattari is an active freelance
musician. He has performed with many
professional orchestras including the
Cleveland Orchestra, Canton Symphony,
Charleston (S.C.) Symphony, and the
North Arkansas Symphony. He performs
with the Blossom Festival Band and
NEOTUBA, a Cleveland-based tuba
quartet. He has been a featured soloist
with the North Arkansas Symphony, the
Case Symphonic Winds, the Cleveland
Youth Wind Symphony, the Brass
Band of the Western Reserve and the
University of Arkansas Wind Ensemble.
Ciabattari also is the director of the
Williamsport Symphony Youth Orchestra
and the newly-formed Community
Dr. William S. Ciabattari
Assistant professor and
chair of the music department,
and director of bands
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