Sarah Wilson

“...playful composer of intricate, Monkish melodies and picturesque structures.”

-David Rubien, SF Chronicle

Composer/trumpeter Sarah Wilson has emerged as "one of the most intriguing and promising composers and trumpeters on the contemporary music scene"
(Derk Richardson, San Francisco Chronicle).

Her music has premiered nationally and internationally and she earned wide critical acclaim for her 2010 Brass Tonic Records release, Trapeze Project. This CD features herself on trumpet and vocals with clarinetist Ben Goldberg, pianist Myra Melford, bassist Jerome Harris, and drummer Scott Amendola and showcases her "...danceable, visually evocative, and melodic music that is both sophisticated and accessible" (Jazziz).

Wilson's original work has earned numerous commissions including the prestigious 2011 Composers Collaborative grant from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as well as the highly acclaimed 2010 Center for Cultural Innovation Artistic Innovation Award.

She is a 2011-2012 Artist Fellow at the de Young Museum with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. In September 2012, the de Young will premiere Off the Walls, Wilson's music production with dance created in collaboration with LA-based dance company, Catch Me Bird.
Wilson didn't come to music through the usual channels.  As an undergraduate anthropology major at the University of California at Berkeley, Wilson, a lapsed high school trumpet player, took a strong interest in theater. A visiting artist from Vermont’s globe-trotting Bread and Puppet Theater inspired her to move east to work on their spectacular giant-puppet productions after graduation. She spent two years as a member of the troupe, increasingly conducting, arranging and performing music for their shows.

In 1993, she moved to New York City to concentrate on music, studying with trumpeters John McNeil and Laurie Frink. Through her affiliation with Bread and Puppet Theater, she soon found herself musical director and composer of Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival’s annual puppet program.

Wilson absorbed other sources of inspiration from the eclectic downtown New York new music scene of the 1990s into her compositions, and found plenty of open-minded musicians willing to play them. "I was fortunate to find these amazing musicians, like Kenny Wollesen, Peck Allmond, Tony Scherr, and others," she says, "who liked my work precisely because it was different and original."

Moving back to native CA in 2005, Wilson hit the music scene with her critically-acclaimed CD, Music for an Imaginary Play on Evander Music. Wilson has received numerous accolades since then including a 2010 William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Honorary Fellowship as well as funding from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, East Bay Fund for Artists, de Young Museum Cultural Encounters Initiative in collaboration with Intersection for the Arts and Meet the Composer's MetLife Creative Connections program. She was also a 2010 Djerassi Resident Artist.

She currently resides in Oakland, CA.

© Sarah Wilson 2012Photos © Lenny Gonzalez