William Mullen – Saxophone, Oboe, Flute, English Horn

Saxophone, Oboe, Flute, English Horn

William Mullen


B.M. Music Education, Temple University

Jazz, Classical, Pop

Hi! My name is William Mullen, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Temple University with a concentration in saxophone and jazz studies, and am currently pursuing a Masters in Music Performance with a focus in woodwinds from Temple. While at Temple, I studied jazz saxophone with Tim Warfield and studied saxophones, clarinets and flute/piccolo with Frank Mazzeo. I  also studied Oboe/English horn with Dr. Meghan Woodard and Elizabeth Masoudnia of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  I am certified in K-12 music education in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and have always had a passion for instrumental music. I love to work with younger learners and was an instructor for Jazz Lives Philadelphia, a program that works with Philadelphia schools to bring local jazz musicians in to give masterclasses and ensemble tutelage. As a freelancer, I have performed in a wide array of genres and ensembles, including The Arden Theatre company, the 11th hour theater company, and, locally, have subbed in classical and jazz ensembles on multiple woodwind instruments. 

When did you begin playing music, and why?

I first picked up the saxophone in 4th grade. I actually was dead set on being a trumpet player, but while I was waiting in the car for the bus that morning I was going to tell the music teacher what instrument I wanted to play, my mom said she liked the saxophone! The rest is history.

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?

I am a woodwind doubler, meaning I have learned and play professionally on saxophones, flutes, clarinets, and oboe/english horn, in a wide array of styles and genres. If it has a reed part I am up, I am ready to go!

What are your personal goals as a musician?

As a performer I am constantly striving to make the best art I can in whatever situation I find myself in. I love to bring the woodwind traditions to more non-traditional settings, as well as play in the more “classic” circumstances, such as jazz ensembles or theater orchestras.  I like to take the rich legacy woodwind instruments have and bring them into a modern world, blending old and new to have a unique musical voice.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?

It’s not a concept per se, but the first jazz album I listened to (I remember by the late great Phil Woods) made me appreciate and deeply respect the idea of artistry. I will never forget the feeling of hearing the track “Paul” for the first time and thinking wow, they have captured a perfect moment in time! I strive to bring that level of care and detail to my horn each time I pick it up.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?

“There are only 12 tones!”

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument

It took me a month of looking in the mirror every day and adjusting to finally make a sound on flute. I didn’t even use the instrument, I held out my finger like a flute and just practiced breathing and shaping my embouchure.

What is your biggest musical achievement?

I have had the pleasure of playing in some really fantastic musicals since moving to Philadelphia. One of the most challenging was the reed 2 book for the Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George. I was tasked with playing 6 instruments (piccolo, flute, clarinet, oboe, english horn and alto saxophone) and it was parts from the original orchestrations, which included some parts that were later deemed “not playable” and removed from print!

Favorite thing about teaching?

I love watching a student become obsessed with making music. It is such a joy to be able to be creative and explore art.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?

Anyone can make music at any level, no matter what equipment or circumstance you are in! All it takes is a passion to learn and willingness to work hard.


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