William Bates is a notable organist, recitalist, organ teacher, composer, and presenter of workshops. He was professor emeritus of organ and music history at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where he taught for forty-six years. He also served as associate dean and director of graduate studies for the music school.

Bates has presented recitals and workshops for churches, and chapters and conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society throughout the United States. He has also performed recitals across Europe, including performances at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, and King’s College in Cambridge, England. He has contributed articles and reviews to The American Organist, The Diapason, The Journal of the American Liszt Society, and BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute.

Bates earned a BM degree in organ and church music and a BA degree in music theory from Howard Payne College in Brownwood, Texas. He went on to earn MM and DM degrees in organ performance from Indiana University. In 2012, he was named a recipient of the Oswald Gleason Ragatz Distinguished Organist Alumnus Award at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.