William Hilbrink graduated from Collinwood High School in 1946.
Hilbrink received the Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Baldwin-wallace Conservatory of Music, Berea, Ohio, and the Master of Music degree in Violin and theory from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, New York, where he held a full scholarship.
He taught instrumental music at Audubon and Murray Junior High Schools in Cleveland. In 1958, Hilbrink was appointed conductor of the MacMurray College/Community orchestra in Jacksonville, Illinois while teaching theory and conducting on the staff of the college. During this time he organized the Collegium Musicum and was music critic for the Jacksonville Journal.
In 1962, Hilbrink was appointed to the staff of the University of North Carolina School of Music (Greensboro) where he taught violin, ensemble and theory and was Concertmaster of the University Orchestra. In 1967, Hilbrink was one of 12 string teachers to begin a pilot program in the elementary schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he also joined the staff of the Reston Music Center.
Hilbrink was appointed Director of Orchestras at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia with an enrollment of 4,000 in 1970. He was selected to organize and conduct the Fairfax All-County orchestra for two years. He was also chosen to organize the Washington, D. C. area Special Olympics orchestra which performed in Constitution Hall with recording artist Chuck Mangione.
Hilbrink was a violin student of Joseph Knitzer, former Concertmaster of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. Hilbrink has performed with the Cleveland Children's Orchestra, the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Springfield (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster, the Greensboro (N.C.) Symphony orchestra, and the Greensboro Little Symphony where he was a featured soloist playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. He has concertized extensively as violinist in Ohio, New York, Illinois, North Carolina, and Virginia.
From 1977 to 1984, Hilbrink served as assistant conductor and associate concertmaster of the Fairfax (VA), Symphony Orchestra, during which time he was featured soloist in several major works.
Hilbrink has been a free-lance violinist throughout the Washington, D.C. area, performing at the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery Orchestra, the Amadeus Orchestra, the Washington Chamber Orchestra, Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts, Ford Theatre, National Theatre, and Warner Theatre, where he performed for such luminaries as Yul Bryner, Robert Goulet, Richard Harris, Victor Borge, Carol Channing, Dolly Parton, Patti LaBelle and Ray Charles.
In 1983, Hilbrink founded the Fairfax String Quartet which has performed over 125 concerts in the D.C. area including at the Rayburn House Office building, Shenandoah Valley Music Festival series (live broadcast), American University, Longworth House Office Building, Carnegie Library, Department of Justice, National Air and Space Museum, Supreme Court, and for President Ronald Reagan's second inaugural ball. He had the honor of performing with YoYo Ma, and the privilege of working with Shinichi Suzuki for two weeks.
Hilbrink has been a member of the AFM, NEA, ASTA, NSOA, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Professional Music Fraternity. He is listed in the 1993-94 edition of Who's Who in the South and Southwest, and in the Dictionary of International Biography, year 1995.
Hilbrink lives with his wife Pat of 54 years (also a musician) in Fairfax, Va. They have a son and daughter and two granddaughters.