Biography

Widely regarded as one of the most gifted musicians of his generation, flutist Ransom Wilson has been acclaimed for his performances as recitalist, as chamher musician and as soloist with the world’s leading orchestras. He has appeared internationally with such ensembles as the Israel Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein ( on two worldwide tours ), the London Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, I Solisti Veneti, Orpheus and the chamber orchestras of The Netherlands, Prague, Nice, Stungart and Cologne. In the United States, his numerous appearances have included engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, tbe Rochester Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Symphony.
In recital, he has appeared regularly on the major concert series in Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Phoenix, Dallas, Seattle and San Francisco. His many joint appearances have included collaborations with such celebrated soloists and ensembles as Jean-Pierre Rampal, James Galway, Frederica von Stade, Jessye Norman, Nancy Allen, Manuel Barrueco, Christopher O’Riley, John Gibhons, Robin Sutherland, the Tokyo String Quartet and the Emerson Quartet. His summer performances have frequently taken him to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.

In addition to his activity as a flutist, Ransom Wilson has earned a distinguished reputation as a conductor. He is Music Director and Principal Conductor of Solisti New York, a chamber orchestra which he founded in 1981 with the aim of programming contemporary music alongside the classical repentoire. In addition to its annual concert series in New York City, Solisti tours the United States annually and is the resident orchestra each summer at the OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where Mr. Wilson serves as Artistic Director. He also served as Music Director of die Tuscaloosa Symphony from 1985 to 1992, and since 1991 has been the Artistic Director of the Mozart Festival at Sea on the M.S. Westerdarn. Mr. Wilson also servcd as Music Director of the San Francisco Chamber Sympbony. As guest conductor, he has led the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Sympbony, the Denver Symphony, the Budapest Strings, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony and Bach Camerata of Santa Barbara. He has also led a successful tour with James Galway and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Ransom Wilson is the recipient of several prestigious honors. In 1988 the New York Times Foundation awarded hirn the first Alabama Prize, which is awarded to natives or residents of that state who have distinguished themselves in the performing or visual arts. The following year he received ( with pianist Christopher O’Riley ) a National Public Radio award for best performance by a small ensemble on a national broadcast. In 1993 he was honored by the Austrian govemment, which awarded him die prestigious Award of Merit in Gold, in recognition of his efforts on behalf of Mozart’s music in America.

The artist’s highly successful recording career, which has includcd two Grammy award nominations, began in 1973 when be made a record with Rampal and I Solisti Veneti. More than 15 solo records have followed on die Angel / EMI, RCA, Orion and Musical Heritage Society labels. As conductor, be has made a best-selling recording of music by John Adams and Steve Reich with Solisti New York as well as a disc of Baroque works with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

A strong advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Wilson has commissioned new works by Steve Reich, Peter Schickele, Joseph Schwanmer, John Harbison, George Tsontakis, Jean-Michel Damase, Jean Francaix ard Carlos Surinach, and his plans indude projects with Richard Danielpour, Tan Dun, Aaron Jay Kemis and Michael Torke. A gifted arranger, he has transcribed much of the music for bis Angel / EMI recordings and has conducted his own orchestrations of three of Ravel’s ,,Five Greek Songs,” left unorchestrated by the composer, at Carnegie Hall with Frederica von Stade as solobist. During the 1995-96 season Mr. Wilson gave the world premiere of John Harbison’s Flute Concerto, which was written for hirn, with the American Composers Orchestra in Carnegie Hall and had later performed that work with the Oregon Symphony.

Educated at the Nortlh Carotina School of the Art and at The Juilliard School, Ransom Wilson pursued post-graduate studies as an Atlantique Scholar in France with Jean-Pierre Rampal. He has studied conducting with Roger Neirenberg, James Dixon and Otto-Werner Mueller, and received extensive coaching trom Leonard Bemstein.

He currently lives in rural Connecticut and serves the faculty of the Yale School of Music.

Discography

‘Impressions for Flute’ ( with Nancy Allen
Angel Records
‘Four Vivaldi Concertos’ ( with Tokyo New Koto )
Angel Records

‘Pleasure Songs For Flute’ ( with Nancy Allen)
Angel Records

‘Bach & Teleman Suites’ ( with Los Angeles Chamber )
Angel Records

‘Reich, Becker, Glas, Debussy, Jolivet’
Angel Records

‘Adams, Reich’ ( with Solisti New York )
Angel Records

‘Mozart, Haydn’ ( with Mozarteum Players )
Arabesque Records

‘Bach, Corette, Clementi, Mozart’
Orion Records

‘Bach – Partita in A’
Orion Records

‘Bach, Marais, Teleman, Blavet’
Orion Records

‘Mozart Horn Concerti’ ( with Solisti New York )
Sine Qua Non Records

Reviews

… as conductor:
… Mr. Wilson is adept and sensitive and accomplished without recourse to exhibitionistic physical gestures. He shaped each movement lovingly without slopping over into excess.
“THE NEW YORK TIMES”

… an interesting point is the debut of flutist Ransom Wilson as conductor, and with very fine results. (He seems a better conductor than his mentor, Jean-Pierre Rampal.) Highly recommended!
“LOS ANGELES TIMES”

… Ransom Wilson and the Los Angeles Chember Orchestra play all the music in a lively style that makes the musical points with great precision and beauty of tone.
“STEREO REVIEW”

… superb performances. Much of the credit for Solisti New York’s liveliness must go to Wilson, a conductor who shuns ostentation in favor of strong. solid, but nevertheless exciting interpretations.
“THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTSVILLE”

… Wilson proved to be a dynamic conductor, with the same awareness of how to sculpt a phrase that he exhibited as a flutist. He skillfully underscored the many wildly fluctuating moods of the Dvorák Syrnphony No. 8 in G Minor.
“THE CAPITAL, ANNAPOLIS”

… Solisti New York, under the direction of Ransom Wilson, showed brilliant colors. Wilson has transferred his outstanding talent as a solo flutist to the baton with considerable success. A stunning performance.
“THE DAILY OKLAHOMAN”

… as soloist:

… a flutist of the highest claibre. His playing fused virtuosity with thoughtful musicianship…
“NEW YORK POST”

… remarkable agility and precision …
“THE NEW YORK TIMES”

… a technically assured and emotionally rich performance of the solo part in Bernstein’s 1981 work.
“THE TIMES, LONDON”

… crystalline playing on tne highest world class level …
“NEW YORK DAILY NEWS”

… Ransom Wilson it would appear that the mighty Rampal has finally met his match. In matters of phrasing, breath control, dexterity and style, Wilson is every bit the Frenchman’s glorious equal …
“LOS ANGELES TIMES”

… a top-notch flutist. Wilson showed remarkable breath control, an even, silvery tone and stylishly adroit phrasing. As he proved in the ,Carmen’ Fantasy and an encore of the ‘Carnival of Venice’, his technical equipment ja second to none. Blindingly fast runs and arpeggios, intricate counterpoint and super-long phrases present no problems for him. But his biggest asset is an intuitive musicality that came through most clearly in Barber’s hauntingly sad ‘Canzone’ for flute and piano.
“VARIETY”

… everything about Wilson’s work indicates that a new master of the flute has been safely ensconced in our midst.
“SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER”

… neither Jean-Pierre Rampal nor James Galway could have surpassed the exquisite musicianship and lush tone of Ransom Wilson. He is a first-rate talent, a true virtuoso and a perceptive interpreter.
“THE OREGONIAN”

… his superbly bravura performances are an executant and tonal delight in themselves.
“HIGH FIDELITY”

… one of the best flutists around. His tone is remarkably pure and smooth, and his playing style is less aggressive than Galway’s and more restrained than Robison’s while possibly rivaling even Rampal’s in richness. He is an agile technician and a genuine musician as well.
“AMERICAN RECORDS GUIDE”

… his phrasing is clean, his tone unforced and birdlike, his rhythms impeccably sound. Best of all, he sounds as if he likes what he is doing. The playing sings with youth and freshness. The collaboration with the good L.A. Chamber Orchestra is a sound one.
“SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER-CHRONICLE”

Specials

Long recognized as one of die world’s leading instrumentalists, Ransom Wilson has in recent years become equally esteemed as an outstanding conductor of orchestral and operatic repertoire. He is Music Director and Principal Conductor of Solisti New York, a chamber orchestra he founded in 1981 with the aim of programming contemporary music alongside the classical repertoire. In addition to its annual concert series in New York City, Solisti tours the United States each season and is the resident orchestra each summer at the OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where Mr. Wilson serves as Artistic Director. He also served as Music Director of the Tuscaloosa Symphony from 1985 to 1992, a period that saw great artistic growth for that orchestra, and since 1991 has been the Artistic Director of the Mozart Festival at Sea on the M.S. Westerdam. More reccntly, Mr. Wilson was appointed Music Director of Opera / Omaha and die San Francisco Chamber Symphony.

As guest conductor, he has appearred with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the Denver Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Strings, the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Berkeley Symphony, the Toledo Symphony and the Bach Camerata of Santa Barbara, and has led a successful tour with Jarnes Galway and die Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Wilson has accompanied many internationally renowned artists from die podium, including Itzhak Perlman, Frederica von Stade, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Joshua Beil, Garrick Ohlsson, Jeffrey Kahane and Robin Sutherland, to name just several. An esteemed operatic conductor as well, Mr. Wilson has conducted new and highly acclaimed productions of Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’ with the Tulsa and Omaha Operas and die American stage premiere of ‘Il Re Pastore’, also by Mozart, with the Glimmerglass Opera. Other operatic appearances have included re-engagements at Opera Omaha, where Mr. Wilson conducted Rossiri’s ‘Ermione’, also the American stage premiere, and at Glimmerglass, where he led performances of ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’, as well as appearances with the Minnesota and Portland Operas to conduct Rossini’s ‘Armida’ and ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’, respectively.

Recent guest-conducting engagements included concerts with England’s Halle Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Tulsa Philharmonic, among others. Mr. Wilson served as cover conductor at New York’s Metropolitan Opera during its 1995-96 season for performances of ‘The Barber of Seville’. He also conducted performances of ‘La Boheme’ at the International Opera Center in Amsterdam and the concert version of Amy Beach’s rarely performeil one-act opera ‘Cabildo’ at the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center.

Among his engagements during the 1996-97 season are concerts with die Honolulu Symphony and die Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the premiere of Deborah Drattell’s new opera, ‘Lilith’ in conjunction with the 92nd Street Y.

Ransom Wilson is the recipient of several prestigious honors. In 1988 die New York Times Foundation awarded him the first Alabama Prize, which is awarded to natives or residents of that state who have distinguished themselves in the performing or visual arts. The following year he received ( with Pianist Christopher O’Riley ) a National Public Radio award for best performance by a small ensemble on a national broadcast. More recently, he was honored last year by the Austrian govemment, which awarded him die prestigious Award of Merit in Gold, in recognition of his efforts on behalf of Mozart’s music in America.

The artist’s highly successfül recording career, which has included two Grammy award nominations, began in 1973 when he made a record with Mr. Rampal and I Solisti Veneti. More than 15 solo records have followed on die Angel / EMI, RCA, Orion and Musical Heritage Society labels. As conductor, he has made a best-selling recording of music by John Adams and Steve Reich with Solisti New York as well as a disc of Baroque music with die Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. A recent recording on die CRI label features Mr. Wilson conducting die Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the music of Aaron Jay Kernis. Most recently, he recorded ‘Lihistore du Soldat’ on the Chesky label.

A strong advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Wilson has commissioned new works by Steve Reich, Peter Schickele, Joseph Schwantner, John Harbison, George Tsoniakls, Jean-Michel Darnase, Jean Francaix and Carlos Surinach, and his plans indude projects with Richard Danielpour, Tan Dun, Aaron Jay Kernis and Michael Torke.

A gifted arranger, he has transcribed much of the music for his Angel / EMI recordings and has conducted his own orchestrations of three of Ravel’s ‘Five Greek Songs’, left unorchestrated by the composer, at Carnegie Hall with Frederica von Stade as soloist.

Educated at the North Carolina School of die Arts and at The Juiiliard School, Ransom Wilson pursued post-graduate studies as an Atlantique Scholar in France with Jean-Pierre Rampal. He has studied conducting widi Roger Nierenberg, James Dixon, Otto-Werner Mueller and received extensive coaching from the late Leonard Bemstein. He currently lives in rural Connecticut and is on the faculty of the Yale School of Music.

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