The Kennedy Center
William Foster

William Foster

William Foster became a member of the National Symphony Orchestra's viola section in 1968 and was assistant principal viola from 1980 until 2006. He received a bachelor's degree from the Oberlin Conservatory and a master's degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. While working on his master's degree in the late 1960s, Mr. Foster played under the young American conductor James Levine, who later became the Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Boston Symphony. This experience, together with advanced viola study with Abraham Skernick, the Cleveland Orchestra principal violist, strongly influenced his decision to pursue an orchestral career. During his early years with the National Symphony, Mr. Foster taught violin using the Suzuki approach with young children and was one of the founders of the Suzuki Association of the Greater Washington Area. More recently, his teaching focus has shifted to older viola students. Mr. Foster has served numerous terms as chair of the musicians' Orchestra Committee and has been a member of several long-term-planning committees with members of the National Symphony Association's Board of Directors. In addition, he has served as chair of the Electronic Media Committee of ICSOM (the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians) and as a trustee of the American Federation of Musicians and Employers Pension Fund.

Contact Information

  • National Symphony Orchestra
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    2700 F Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20566
    Phone: 202-416-8100
    Fax: 202-416-8105

    Mailing Address:
    P.O. Box 101510
    Arlington, VA 22210