Joined Feb. 7, 1955, as a violinist
Assistant Director May 1, 1972-Feb. 28, 1977
William D. Rusinak joined “The President’s Own” in February 1955 as a violinist. He was named concertmaster in 1956, and Assistant Director in 1972.
Rusinak’s musical career began at age five on the violin. While attending Edison High School in Minneapolis, he also attended Interlochen Music Camp where he performed under Serge Koussevitsky, Percy Grainger, and Howard Hanson. He performed with the Rochester Philharmonic while attending the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1941. During a five-year tour of duty with the U.S. Army in World War II he was transferred to a special service orchestra on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he performed for Jack Benny, Dinah Shore, and Bob Hope. Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Rusinak pursued graduate studies at the University of Minnesota and was a member of the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra in Minneapolis.
During his career as concertmaster he performed and conducted extensively at the White House and at other official functions in the Washington, D.C., area. He was the soloist for the Broadway production of 1776 at the White House and performed at Camp David for President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev. In addition, he was a member of the chamber orchestra that accompanied President Richard Nixon on a trip to Yugoslavia. He retired on Feb. 28, 1977, with the rank of major.