Acclaimed by the press for her “deeply moving” artistry and a voice that has been lauded as “rich and colorful,” mezzo-soprano Jan Wilson is known for her skilled interpretations of solo orchestral works, choral masterpieces and chamber music. Ms. Wilson has performed with orchestras and choral societies across the US, including the symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Richmond, West Virginia, Roanoke, Greenwich Village, Wheeling, Cedar Rapids, Northeastern PA Philharmonic, to name just a few, and as a soloist at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York’s St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra, ARS Musica, and the State College Choral Society. Her performances have included collaborations with conductors of some of the finest orchestras including Lawrence Loh, Daniel Hege, Andre Raphael, Alfred Savia, Markand Thakar, David Bernard, David Stewart Wiley, Timothy Hankewich, Joseph Silverstein, Nicholas Palmer, Barbara Yahr, and Grant Cooper, to name only a few.
Ms. Wilson performs masterpieces by Beethoven, Verdi, Handel, Mahler, Mozart and Bach. Jan has sung solo mezzo roles with the Spokane Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Roanoke Symphony, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Park Avenue Chamber Orchestra, Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Central Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra, Rossini Petite Messe Sollenelle and Mozart Great Mass in C Minor with Heidi Grant Murphy and ARS Music, and Beethoven Mass in C at the Academy of Sacred Music in PA. Jan has performed Messiah with the Syracuse Symphony, Discovery Orchestra, Westmoreland Symphony, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Longwood Symphony Orchestra at Boston’s NEC Jordan Hall and at Boston Symphony Hall; with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra at New London’s Garde Arts Center, and with the Lexington Philharmonic at Kentucky’s Singletary Center for the Arts and Verdi’s Requiem with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra at Washington’s INB Performing Arts Center, and again with the Lexington Philharmonic. Jan sang Handel’s Messiah in Manhattan with The St. Vincent Ferrer Orchestra and Chorale, and Discovery Orchestra at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Ms. Wilson traveled to Minnesota to join the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra to perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 at the DECC Auditorium, and returned to New York for appearances with the Long Island Philharmonic of Mozart’s Requiem at the Staller Center for the Arts in Stonybrook, and at the Tilles Center for the Arts in Brookville. Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the State College Choral Society, Pittsburgh Bach choir and at Westside Presbyterian Church with musicians of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Ars Musica Chorale were some of Jan's favorite performances.
In October 2009 and April 2010, Ms. Wilson was honored to receive two distinguished alumni awards - the first from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA, and also from the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State University, State College, PA.
Additional engagements have included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Mozart Great Mass in C Minor with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Wheeling Symphony, Garrett Lake Arts Festival Orchestra, Greenwich Village Orchestra, Owensboro Symphony, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Altoona Symphony, Glens Falls Symphony, Astoria Symphony and Allentown Symphony; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Pennsylvania State University Orchestra and Choruses, Handel’s Messiah with the St. Cecilia Orchestra and Chorus (Carnegie Hall debut performance), the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey, the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and Johnstown Symphony; Mozart’s Coronation Mass and the Raminsh Magnificat with the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, and for the Verdi Requiem with Lexington Philharmonic.
Ms. Wilson’s recording of Murray Shafer’s Minnelieder on the Centaur label with the Pennsylvania Quintet was praised by Fanfare as “...an excellent addition to the shelf of contemporary American music... ...Wilson has a real flair for this kind of music.” Of her live performance of Elgar’s Sea Pictures with the Altoona Symphony, American Record Guide praised, “Wilson’s ripe and full-throated embrace of the various texts, in the final storm at sea piling on the vibrato in the best Helen Traubel tradition; there is a sonorous aura surrounding the soloist.” She can also be heard singing Handel’s Messiah on the Duke University private label.
Ms. Wilson received her Bachelor of Music Education from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA, her Master’s in Voice Performance from The Pennsylvania State University and was a recipient of a Rotary Foundation Fellowship for voice study at the Royal College of Music, London, from which she was awarded a Certificate of Achievement. While in London, Jan sang with Sir David Willcocks at the Royal College of Music and the Bach Choir of London. Jan was the runner-up in the Tuesday Partnership Messiah Competition at the Royal Albert Festival Hall, London.
A Regional Finalist (Toronto) and District winner (Pittsburgh) of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she made her debut solo recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1994 and her solo debut at Carnegie Hall' s Stern Auditorium in December 2006. She was a Semi-Finalist in the New York Oratorio Society Solo Competition, and a National Finalist of the Federation of Music Clubs Competition in Miami. Her teachers have included Herbert Burtis, Suzanne Roy, Louise McClelland, Margaret Cable (London) and Carol Schoenhard.
In addition to Jan's performing life, she has enjoyed a parallel career as an arts administrator for more than 30 years including 14 years as Director of the Knowledge Center at the League of American Orchestras in NY, NY, and now as Executive Director of the International Conductors Guild. Jan lives in Leesburg, VA with her family, is the alto section leader at Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, VA, and loves walking her sweet puppy, Lucy!