Composer Spotlight-Dana Wilson
Get to Know...Dana Wilson
Dana Wilson was named the winner of the Newly Composed Category in 2016 for his work for solo flute and chamber ensemble (ob, 3 cl, bcl, bsn, hn, tpt, tb, pf, perc, db), entitled The Conjurer. This lovely flute concerto in two movements was inspired by the world’s shamanic traditions. Commissioned by a consortium of flutists and wind ensembles, The Conjurer received its first performance in April 2015 by Gabe Southard. The Conjurer is included on a disc of his flute music entitled “The Conjurer: Chamber Music for Flute by Dana Wilson” featuring his colleague at Ithaca College, Wendy Herbener Mehne. She will perform The Conjurer at the 2017 NFA Convention on the New Flute Solos Concert at 1:00 PM on Saturday August 12, 2017. Another of Dana’s works will also be performed; FNMC member Christine Erlander Beard will present the NFA Premiere of Whispers from Another Time for piccolo and piano on the Piccolo Recital II (10:00 Sunday, August 13, 2017).
We’re hoping to catch up with Dana at the convention and feature him in a Facebook live interview talking about The Conjurer and Whispers from Another Time, but in the meantime, we wanted to ensure that he was featured!
Q&A with Dana…
What about new music for the flute appeals to you?
The flute has so many colors and textures, and is able to move from one to another in such a seemingly effortless way, thus providing depth and drama to a given passage or gesture.
Describe your musical background and current activities.
I’ve been composing a long time but only came to the flute in recent years in terms of
commissions and lots of performances. (I’m so grateful to all the flutists in the world who are eager to explore new works!) I started my musical life as a jazz pianist and so a good deal of that aesthetic and its musical elements creep into my music. Maybe as a result of that, I’m drawn to the range of color and articulation that the flute provides.
What advice can you give to flutists about approaching new music in practice?
Think of all the sounds in the world—from birdcalls to violent storms—and how the flute can explore each so effectively, often jumping dramatically from one to another. Be open to the incredible fluidity that the flute allows music and musical drama to project.
More About Dana…
The works of Dana Wilson have been commissioned and performed by such diverse ensembles as the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Formosa String Quartet, Xaimen Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Dallas Wind Symphony, Voices of Change, Netherlands Wind Ensemble and Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. He has received grants from, among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Arts Midwest, and Meet the Composer. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, East Asia and Australia, and appear on over 30 record labels. Dana Wilson holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music and is Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus at the Ithaca College School of Music. He has written about his compositional process in A Composer’s Insight and Composers on Composing for Band, and is co-author of Contemporary Choral Arranging, published by Simon and Schuster.
If You Liked The Conjurer...
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion
All Our Yesterdays
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, horn, violin, cello, piano, and percussion
Instrumentation: flute and piano
And longing to be…
Instrumentation: flute and piano or harp
Breathing the Water
Instrumentation: flute and guitar
Dancing with the Devil
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano
Instrumentation: flute, oboe, and piano
Instrumentation: alto flute and guitar
Instrumentation: wind quintet
Pu Em Remu
Instrumentation: flute and percussion
Shallow Streams, Deep Rivers
Instrumentation: flute, horn, and piano
Sing to me of the Night
Instrumentation: flute, guitar, and cello
Whispers from Another Time
Instrumentation: piccolo and piano
The Flute New Music Consortium is an organization dedicated to the creation and support of new music for the flute.