Finding inspiration in the music of Igor Stravinsky, Charles Mingus and Edgard Varese, Brian S. Wilson's eclectic compositional style is a masterful blend of classic and jazz idioms that feels simultaneously familiar and new.
A composer and conductor , Wilson is music department chair at SSU. Currently serving as professor of music theory, he has taught classes in nearly every area of the music curriculum since his first year in 2001, as well as conducted the symphonic wind ensemble (which he founded) and jazz ensembles.
Wilson is a native of Lynn, MA, and a graduate of New England Conservatory, the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona. An enthusiastic champion of music education, he co-founded the Sonoma Brass Institute in 2005 to offer brass education and performance opportunities of the highest quality to the North Bay area.
Wilson is equally at home whether writing for orchestra, chamber ensemble, klezmer band, opera, wind symphony or jazz ensemble. His jazz-inflected harmonies, free borrowings from the Jewish liturgy and exciting rhythmic turns are hallmarks of his distinctive style.
Wilson's breakthrough piece for solo trombone and percussion, The Avanti (the full title is: The Avanti Feels Glued To The Road Even When Cruising at 100 Miles Per Hour!), captured first prize in the International Trombone Association composition competition and has gone on to receive performances worldwide.
Wilson's latest commission is Byron Songs, which will receive its premiere at SSU on Nov. 9. This song cycle is based on settings from Lord Byron's Hebrew Melodies and will be performed by soprano Carol Menke and pianist Marilyn Thompson. Wilson is currently working on a trio for violin, horn and piano, commissioned by Music in the Mishkan at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav in San Francisco.
An inveterate traveller, Wilson served for 20 years as music director of the University of Detroit Classic Theatre study abroad program on the Greek island of Spetses. More recently he has conducted, given clinics and lectured about his music in Taiwan, Colombia (SA), Russia, Italy and Israel.
Among his awards and honors are several New York State Decentralization Grants, the ASCAP Standard Award, College Music Society Pacific Central chapter and National composition awards and the U.S. Department of Education Ensuring Access Through Collaboration And Technology (EnACT) Grant.
Wilson says, "My background is in trombone, piano, music education, composition and conducting and thus I have taught just about every course in the curriculum. Versatility is my curse! I love teaching music theory and conducting groups for special projects. I teach Diatonic Harmony, Chromatic Harmony, Form and Analysis and Private Instruction in Composition. I also have been known to sweep the floors, wash the windows and take out the trash!"