Wilson, Oily (Woodrow)

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Wilson, Oily (Woodrow)

Wilson, Oily (Woodrow), African American composer, conductor, and teacher; b. St. Louis, Sept. 7, 1937. He taught himself to play the piano and double bass, and gained valuable experience performing in both jazz and classical settings. He studied at Washington Univ. in St. Louis (B.M., 1959), the Univ. of 111. (M.M., 1960), with Wykes, Kelley, and Bezanson at the Univ. of Iowa (Ph.D., 1964), and at the 111. Studio for Experimental Music (1967). In 1971-72 he pursued research in indigenous music in West Africa. After teaching at Fla. A.&M. Univ. (1960-62) and the Oberlin (Ohio) Coll. Cons, of Music (1965-70), he was prof, of music at the Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley (from 1970). In 1977-78 he was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. He conducted much contemporary music and contributed important articles on African and African American music to scholarly journals. In 1968 he won the Dartmouth Arts Council Prize for his electronic piece Cetus. In 1971 and 1977 he held Guggenheim fellowships. Wilson found inspiration in jazz and West African music to develop his own highly diverse and often complex style of composition. He has also used electronic elements to great effect.


dramatic: Dance Music I (1963) and ÍÍ (1965), ballets; The 18 Hands of Jerome Harris, ballet (1971); incidental music. ORCH.: Structure (1960); 3 Movements (1964); Voices (1970); Akwan for Piano, Electric Piano, and Orch. (1972); Reflections (1978); Trilogy (1979-80); Lumina (1981); Sinfonia (1984); Houston Fanfare (1986); Expansions II (1990) and 77Í (1993); Viola Concerto (1994). CHAMBER: Prelude and Line Study for Wind Quintet (1959); Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano (1959); String Quartet (1961); Violin Sonata (1961); Dance Suite for Winds (1962); Soliloquy for Double Bass (1962); Sextet for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, and Trombone (1963); Piece for 4 for Flute, Trumpet, Double Bass, and Piano (1966); Piano Piece for Piano and Tape (1969); Echoes for Clarinet and Tape (1974-75); Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1977); A City Called Heaven for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1989). VOCAL: 2 Dutch Poems for Voice and Piano (1960); Gloria for Voice (1961); Wry Fragments for Tenor and Percussion (1961); And Death Shall Have No Dominion for Tenor and Percussion (1963); Chanson Innocent for Alto and 2 Bassoons (1965); Biography for Soprano and Ensemble (1966); In Memo-riam Martin Luther King Jr. for Chorus and Tape (1968); Spirit Song for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (1973); Sometimes for Tenor and Tape (1976); No More for Tenor and Chamber Ensemble (1985); I Shall Not Be Moved for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1992-93). ELECTRONIC: Cetus (1967); Black Martyrs (1972).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Wilson, Oily (Woodrow)

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