James Dale Wilson


James Dale Wilson

Associate Professor of Music
Co-Chair of the Music Department
Ethnomusicologist, Jazz Composer/Arranger

Joined Connecticut College: 2004

Education
B.M., M.M., University of North Texas
M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University
Postdoctoral Associate Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University


Specializations

Ethnomusicology

Jazz

Guangdong ritual and ritual music

Southeast Chinese perspectives on migration and transnationalism

Dale Wilson writes music for a variety of media, including large and small jazz ensemble, full orchestra, chamber ensemble, string orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz chorus, Chinese instrumental ensemble, and rock ensemble. As an ethnomusicologist, Wilson’s principal areas of research are Guangdong ritual and ritual music, the interpenetration of opera and ritual, and Southeast Chinese perspectives on migration and transnationalism.

Dale Wilson writes music for a variety of media, including large and small jazz ensemble, full orchestra, chamber ensemble, string orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz chorus, Chinese instrumental ensemble, and rock ensemble. As an ethnomusicologist, Wilson’s principal areas of research are Guangdong ritual and ritual music, the interpenetration of opera and ritual, and Southeast Chinese perspectives on migration and transnationalism.

He teaches Music/Anthropology 108, Music of the World; Music/American Studies 103, American Music; Music 324, Jazz Harmony; Music/Anthropology 229 Ethnomusicology: The Social Science of Music; Music 493 Chinese Music and Theater, and other courses.

Wilson’s music has been performed at Merkin Hall (NY), Blue Note Jazz Club (NY), Norddeutscher Fundfunk (Northern German Broadcasting) Studio One (Hamburg, Germany), The Garage (NY), Smalls Jazz Club (NY), ShapeShifter Lab (Brooklyn), International Association of Jazz Educator's (IAJE) annual conference, American Bandmasters Association (ABA) annual conference, and other venues in the United States and Europe.

Among recent projects, Dreams in Blue (2017) comprises six extended works for jazz orchestra, keyboards, and electric violin, based on music by British pianist/drummer Gary Husband; commissioned by Norddeutscher Fundfunk Bigband for Gary Husband and NDR Bigband’s Studio Eins Konzert series. Dreams in Blue was premiered at a NDR Studios (May 2017) in a concert featuring NDR Bigband, Gary Husband (drums and multiple keyboards), Zoltan Lantos (electric violin), and Tim Hagans (conductor).

Recordings of Wilson’s music include DownBeat Editors’ Pick, Tall Tales of Jasper County: The Double Doubles Suite (Inarhyme Records, 2015), commissioned by Norddeutscher Fundfunk, featuring Fiete Felsch (alto saxophone, flute, alto flute, and piccolo) and Lutz Büchner (tenor saxophone and clarinet), Gary Husband (drums), and NDR Bigband. Other recording credits include Mark Records, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Silver Burdett Ginn, and Emperor Entertainment Group (EEG, Hong Kong). His arrangements/orchestrations for two major children’s music series (Spotlight on Music, Macmillian/McGraw-Hill; and Making Music, Silver Burdett Ginn) feature music for orchestra and children’s voices in idioms such as jazz, gospel, classical concert music, Asian folk music, and African highlife. As musical director, Wilson arranged and conducted Hong Kong pop icon Roman Tam’s last studio recording at New York's Avatar Studios, (Shanghai New York, Emperor Entertainment Group). He was a consultant for Mulan Jr., Disney’s theatrical adaptation of the feature film, Mulan.

Wilson leads his own 19-piece ensemble in New York City. Other ensembles performing Wilson’s music have included New York BMI Jazz Orchestra, The Jazz Ambassadors, The Discovery Orchestra, Double Reed Choir of Hell’s Kitchen, United States Air Force Heritage of America Band, Mats Holmquist Big Bad Band (Stockholm), The Laurel Quartet, University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band, University of Texas, Arlington Wind Symphony, University of Nevada at Las Vegas Wind Orchestra, University of North Florida Jazz Ensemble I, and other groups under his own direction. Wilson is an original composer for The New York Jazz Nine, jazz nonet co-founded by John Eckert, Eliot Zigmund, and Bobby Porcelli.

Stylistically eclectic, Wilson’s wind orchestra music includes works commissioned by conductor Tom Leslie for pianist Stefan Karlsson and University of Nevada, Las Vegas Wind Orchestra: What Was That Song I Heard You Singing? (Stefan Karlsson, piano) and No Mo' Chalumeau! (Stefan Karlsson, piano; Ken Peplowski, clarinet); and The Hills Are Singing, based on music by Percy Grainger; scored for oboe, oboe d’amore, English horn, heckelphone, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, contrabass, vibraphone, percussion, and jazz rhythm section.

Winner of the Gil Evans Fellowship Competition, an international jazz composition competition sponsored by The International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE); Herb Albert Jazz Endowment Fund and Meet the Composer; Wilson is also a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Composition Fellowship.

Research for his dissertation (“Baatyam: Music, Ritual, and Taishanese Transnationalism”) was conducted in rural villages of Taishan, in Guangdong Province, China, as well as among Taishanese communities in the greater New York City area. He is currently writing a book on the subject.

His ethnomusicological research has been supported by fellowships from Fulbright-Hays, Mellon, Columbia University’s Department of Music, and Yale University’s Council on East Asian Studies. Ethnomusicological publications include articles for JEMS (Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies), Concise Garyland Encyclopedia of World Music, and Routledge Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture; and book reviews for American Anthropologist, Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews; and Current Musicology.

Visit the music department website.

Majoring in Music.

Majoring in Anthropology.

Contact James Dale Wilson

Mailing Address

James Dale Wilson
Connecticut College
Box #5244
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320

Office

219 Cummings Arts Center