Dr. Peter Wilson
Sinfonia Strings Conductor
Peter Wilson is an engaging and multifaceted violinist, conductor, arranger, and composer whose artistry has been noted as “first-class” by The Washington Post. He serves as Music Director of the Richmond Philharmonic and The American Prize-winning Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra in Virginia as well as Artistic Director and Conductor of the American Festival Pops Orchestra in the National Capital Region, an appointment that began in 2022 following his twelve years as AFPO Concertmaster. Peter is the former senior enlisted music advisor to The White House, where he led countless ensembles and performed as a Marine violinist for 30 years in direct support of five U.S. Presidents. He served as String Section Commander for “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band and upon retiring was awarded the Legion of Merit. Peter has conducted the National Symphony and National Gallery of Art Orchestras and holds degrees from Northwestern University (where he was initiated into Phi Mu Alpha, Iota Chapter, in 1988) and The Catholic University of America, where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts.
Peter began his career as Concertmaster of the Walt Disney World Orchestra. He has appeared as violin soloist with such legends as Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Renée Fleming, Bernadette Peters, Randy Travis, and Trisha Yearwood. A true ambassador of music, Peter has soloed in many unique venues around the globe including the American Embassy in Paris, the Presidential Retreat at Camp David, the private chambers of the Vatican before Pope John Paul II, and Carnegie Hall. He is cofounder of the acclaimed string duo “Bridging the Gap,” which was hailed by The Washington Post for “superior arrangements and uncommon musicianship.” Peter is frequently invited to perform his moving solo violin arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner for high-profile events including Major League Baseball games. He performed with the National Symphony and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestras and with ensembles backing up such iconic performers as Beyoncé, Ray Charles, The Empire Brass, Aretha Franklin, 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.” Peter performed at the Library of Congress with Gershwin Prize recipient Stevie Wonder as part of a 21-piece orchestra in the world premiere of Wonder’s “Sketches of a Life.”
Among the international magazines in which Peter has appeared, The Strad stated, “Wilson’s performance stressed the warmth and romanticism of the music and captured its youthful innocence and rapture… Wilson’s technical skills brought a sparkle to the Moto perpetuo [of Barber’s Violin Concerto], and overall, [Wilson] made music that had the stamp of quality.” The Washington Post further observed his “pristine melodic lines” and “showering virtuosity.” He performed such acclaimed works as John Corigliano’s “The Red Violin: Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra,” after which he was praised by the award-winning composer: “Peter Wilson’s beautiful performance of my Chaconne…how gorgeous it was…and so true to the piece.” He performed Theme from “Schindler’s List” at The Kennedy Center under the baton of Academy Award-winning film composer John Williams, who wrote of the occasion, “Peter Wilson’s poignant, tender and highly personal reading of the music made clear to all that we were in the presence of a brilliant musical artist.” The Washington Post additionally singled out Peter for his “impassioned violin solo.”
A Cleveland native, Peter (son of Brother C.B. Wilson, Iota Chapter, Northwestern University, 1957) began violin at age two with his mother, later moving 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 included Linda Cerone, Robert Gerle, Blair Milton, and Brother Donald Portnoy (Eta Theta Chapter, Catholic University, 1957). He studied conducting with Victor Yampolsky, trained with Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier, and worked with Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute, an intensive leadership training program for rising music directors.ClevelandClassical.com reviewed a live concert recording at the National Gallery of Art, stating it was “…beautifully performed by the National Gallery Chamber Players under the direction of conductor Peter Wilson.”
For twelve years Brother Wilson served as Lecturer at The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art at Catholic University, where he taught conducting and strings while serving as Resident Conductor of the University Symphony. He also was a violin instructor at George Mason University (2017-2021) and James Madison University (2014-2017). Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia national music fraternity honored Brother Wilson with its prestigious “Signature Sinfonian” award for his “outstanding commitment and dedication to the performing arts while serving as a successful role model, helping others realize their potential and exhibiting high standards of excellence.” For further information, visit PeterWilsonMusician.com