Brian S. Wilson

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian S. Wilson


Brian Scott Wilson (b. 1962, Lynn, Mass.) is an American composer, arranger, conductor and educator

Dr. Wilson received his bachelor’s degree in composition and music education from New England Conservatory, master’s in composition from the University of Chicago, and doctorate in instrumental conducting from the University of Arizona. His principal teachers include Malcolm Peyton, Edward Diamente, Dan Asia, Ralph Shapey and Shulamit Ran (composition) and Barbara Schubert, Michael Walters, Gregg Hanson and Kurt Klippstater (conducting).

As a doctoral student at the University of Arizona, Wilson “cracked the code” of Percy Aldridge Grainger’s distinctive musical signature, then “dished up” original wind band arrangements of Grainger’s The Jolly Sailor, The Cutting of the Hay and Lord Maxwell’s Goodnight cast in that composer’s archetypal style. Wilson’s extensive collaboration with klezmer clarinetist Robin Seletsky has resulted in several original works for klezmer band and a widely acclaimed arrangement of Rumania! for klezmer band and orchestra.

Finding inspiration in the music of Stravinsky, Mingus and Varese, Wilson’s eclectic style utilizes classic and jazz elements in a way that feels simultaneously familiar and new. His jazz-inflected harmonies are evident in the whimsical Modes of Transportation for orchestra as well as the elegiac Orange Was Her Color for wind band. His deep spirituality finds expression in works as diverse as Klezmer Concerto for clarinet and Prayer for Peace for women’s choir and orchestra.

Formerly music director of the University of Detroit Classic Theatre Study Abroad program, Wilson has participated in conducting master classes by Frederick Fennell and Sergiu Commissiona. An inveterate traveller, he has guest conducted his works in Russia, Israel, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Korea, Costa Rica and throughout the U.S., and spent part of a recent sabbatical doing research in France and Germany.

Wilson is Professor of Music at Sonoma State University where he currently teaches upper level music theory and serves as Music Department Chair and Director of the Jewish Studies program. A master educator, he has instructed courses in theory, conducting, orchestration, arranging, methods classes and European Music Survey. His areas of private instruction include piano, jazz piano, trombone, composition, orchestration and arranging. In his previous appointment as Director of Music Education, he instituted the university wind ensemble which increased to 70 members in five years; supervised student teachers and internships; and authored the Single Subject Matter response document for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. During his tenure as department chair he has instituted major curricular reform, chaired numerous search committees, hosted summer workshops, and developed national and international recruitment materials.

Works for Winds