Peter Wilson is an engaging and multifaceted violinist and conductor whose musicianship has been noted as “first-class” by The Washington Post. He is Music Director of the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of TYOF (The Youth Orchestras of Fairfax) in Northern Virginia, where he conducts its flagship ensemble, the United Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as a violinist of the White House for over two decades and serves as String Section Commander for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. Highly respected throughout the National Capital Region, he is Concertmaster of the American Festival Pops Orchestra and has conducted such renowned institutions as the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Gallery Orchestra. He holds music degrees from Northwestern University and The Catholic University of America where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts.
Dr. Wilson began his professional career as Concertmaster of the Walt Disney World Orchestra. For over 12 years, he served as a lecturer at Catholic University where he was Resident Conductor of the CU Symphony Orchestra while teaching courses in conducting and string techniques. A musician in great demand for his high energy, versatility, performance skills, and commitment to quality, Dr. Wilson commands respect in genres ranging from classical and jazz to country, folk, and pop/rock. He is an active guest conductor, soloist, recording artist and performance clinician throughout the United States. He has appeared as violin soloist with such legendary artists as Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Renée Fleming, Bernadette Peters, Randy Travis, Chely Wright, and Trisha Yearwood and he has performed chamber music in concert with Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, and Peter Wiley. He is also cofounder and violinist of the acclaimed string duo "Bridging the Gap" (with double bassist Aaron Clay), which has been hailed for “superior arrangements and uncommon musicianship” by The Washington Post.
Dr. Wilson has appeared in international magazines to include The Strad, which stated, “Wilson’s performance stressed the warmth and romanticism of the music… [His] technical skills brought a sparkle to the [music] and overall, [Wilson] made music that had the stamp of quality.” The Washington Post has further observed his “pristine melodic lines” and “showering virtuosity.” He has performed such acclaimed works as John Corigliano’s “The Red Violin: Chaccone for Violin and Orchestra,” after which he was praised by the award-winning composer: “[Wilson’s] beautiful performance of my Chaconne…how gorgeous it was…and so true to the piece.” Following a performance of the Theme from “Schindler’s List” under the baton of Academy Award-winning composer John Williams, The Washington Post singled out Dr. Wilson for his “impassioned violin solo.”
Dr. Wilson has soloed in many unique venues including the Presidential Retreat at Camp David, the Vatican before Pope John Paul II, the American Embassy in Paris, and Chicago’s Comiskey Park, where he performed his arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner to open a Major League Baseball game. In addition, he has appeared in concert with orchestras backing up such performers as Beyoncé, Ray Charles, Josh Groban, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Johnny Mathis, and Joni Mitchell, as well as Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in their “Zeppelin UnLEDed World Tour.” Dr. Wilson has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra of Washington, DC, has served as a concertmaster for the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, and appeared on HBO as a member of the orchestra that supported the “We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which began the 2009 Inaugural week of President Barack Obama. Also in 2009, Dr. Wilson performed with Stevie Wonder as part of a 21-piece orchestra at the Library of Congress in the World Premiere of Mr. Wonder’s “Sketches of a Life.”
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Wilson began his musical training at age 2 as a violin student of his mother. He later moved to Morgantown, West Virginia where he became the first musician ever to receive the Governor’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Arts. His other violin teachers have included Linda Cerone, Jody Gatwood, Robert Gerle, Blair Milton, and Donald Portnoy. His primary conducting studies were with Victor Yampolsky and he has received coaching by Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier. In 2008, Dr. Wilson was one of nine conductors selected to work with Leonard Slatkin in the acclaimed National Conducting Institute in Washington, DC. Having developed a passion for authentic, historically informed performances, Dr. Wilson has researched and conducted several restorations of great musical works including Gershwin’s original 1924 version of “Rhapsody In Blue” using his own, personally prepared critical edition, and Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” Suite for 13 instruments. In addition, he has championed Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” Concerti, performing as violin soloist and conductor. Dr. Wilson currently resides in Fairfax, Virginia and is the proud father of three sons.