James Dale Wilson

James Dale Wilson

Associate Professor of Music

Joined Connecticut College: 2005

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



Jazz Composition

Guangdong ritual and ritual music

Southeast Chinese perspectives on migration and transnationalism

Dale Wilson is an ethnomusicologist who also writes music, mostly for jazz musicians. He has composed for a variety of media, including large and small jazz ensembles, full orchestra, chamber ensembles, string orchestra, wind ensemble, and Chinese instrumental ensembles. His original compositions have been performed at Brooklyn’s ShapeShifter Lab, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) Studio One (Hamburg, Germany), The Blue Note Jazz Club (NY), The Garage (NY), Smalls Jazz Club (NY), Merkin Hall (NY), International Association of Jazz Educator's (IAJE) annual conference, American Bandmasters Association (ABA) annual conference, International Double Reed Society (IDRS) annual conference, and other venues in the United States and Europe.

Wilson’s commissions include multiple projects for Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) Big Band, Hamburg, Germany, including Tall Tales of Jasper County (Inarhyme Records), a Downbeat magazine Editor’s Pick; and Dreams in Blue, six extended works for jazz orchestra, keyboards, and electric violin, which he arranged and orchestrated for legendary British composer, drummer, and pianist Gary Husband. Most recently Wilson completed Suite Paradisal, a multi-piece suite for jazz orchestra commissioned by University of Texas, Arlington Jazz Orchestra. Ensembles performing his music have included Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra (NDR Big Band), New York BMI Jazz Orchestra, Count Pauli Bigband (Hamburg), 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 Nevada at Las Vegas Wind Orchestra, University of Texas, Arlington Wind Orchestra, University of Texas, Arlington Jazz Orchestra, and University of North Florida Jazz Ensemble I. He is among the original composers for The New York Jazz Nine, co-founded by John Eckert, Eliot Zigmund, and Bobby Porcelli. Wilson also composes for his own group in New York, The Dale Wilson Ensemble.

Wilson won the Gil Evans Fellowship Competition, an international jazz composition competition sponsored by the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), the Herb Albert Jazz Endowment Fund, and Meet the Composer; and has received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Composition Fellowship. Recording credits include Inarhyme Records, Mark Records, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Silver Burdett Ginn, Emperor Entertainment Group (EEG), CBS/Sony (Hong Kong), WEA (Asia), Capital (Hong Kong), and other labels. He was a consultant for the soundtrack recording of Disney’s Mulan Jr., Disney’s theatrical adaptation of the feature film, Mulan.

Crossing stylistic boundaries, as an arranger and musical director he conducted iconic Hong Kong pop artist Roman Tam’s last studio recording, at New York's Avatar Studios, (Shanghai New York, Emperor Entertainment Group). His arrangements/orchestrations for two major children’s music series (Spotlight on Music, Macmillan/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 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 has conducted extensive field research in rural villages of Taishan, in Guangdong Province, China, as well as among Taishanese communities in the greater New York City area. His ethnomusicological research has been supported by fellowships from Fulbright-Hays, Mellon, Columbia University Department of Music, and Yale University Council on East Asian Studies. His ethnomusicological publications include articles for JEMS (Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies), Concise Garland 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 # MUSIC/Cummings Arts Center
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320


219 Cummings Arts Center