Tony Wilson began his musical studies in 1981 at Malaspina College in Nanamio, B.C., where he studied composition with Pat Carpenter. He took private guitar instruction from Oliver Gannon. Further schooling, included two summer sessions at the Banff School of the Arts. His teachers there included Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Kevin Eubanks, Steve Coleman, Muhal Richard Abrams and others. Tony has also studied composition privately with multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia and new music composer Georgio Magnenensi.
After moving to Vancouver, B.C. in 1987, he started playing and writing for the sextet Video Barbeque. The group won a West Coast Music Award for their CD “Maximillism”. In 1990 he formed the Tony Wilson Sextet (Tony Wilson-guitar/Kevin Elaschuk-trumpet/Dave Say-saxophones/Peggy Lee-cello/Paul Blaney-bass/Dylan van der Schyff-drums). Their repertoire features original compositions as well as arrangements of the works of jazz luminaries such as Don Cherry, Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart, Duke Ellington, to name just a few. Other groups under his leadership include the Tony Wilson Quintet (Tony Wilson-Guitar/Jesse Zubot-violin/J.P. Carter-trumpet/Russll Sholberg-bass/Skye Brooks-drums), Tony Wilson Quartet (Tony Wilson-guitar/Tyson Naylor-organ/Tommy babin-bass/Kenton Loewen-drums), Tony Wilson Trio (Tony Wilson-guitar/Russell sholberg-bass/skye Brooks-dums).
Tony is also very active as a solo performer and recently organized a big band that consists of 3 trumpets, 3 saxes, 2 trombones, cello, violin, 2 guitars, 2 bassist and 2 percussionists.
He is a sideman in ensembles led by Eric Boeren, Peggy Lee, Brad Muirhead, Saul Berson, Francois Houle, and Dark Blue World. Duo projects see him team up with; saxophonist/percussionist Bill Smith; tenor saxophonist Nick McGowan; and guitarist Ron Samworth.
His compositions have been commissioned by the new music ensembles Standing Wave, Joe Trio, and the Little Chamber Music Society and big bands – The New Orchestra Workshop and the Hard Rubber Orchestra, as well as dance companies Kokora Dance and Joe Inc. Tony has also collaborated with filmmakers, the latest which is Clancy Dennehys short film entitled Vancouver.
His compositions have been performed by such artists as Myra Melford, Marilyn Crispell, François Houle, Barre Philips, Mary Oliver, Ig Hennemann and Zubot and Dawson and many others.
Touring has taken him across Canada, Europe and the United States. He has shared the stage with international artists Vinny Golia, John Tchicai, Myra Melford, William Parker, Daniel Carter, Glenn Spearman, Wilbert de Joode, Steve Arquelles, Gerry Hemmingway, Han Bennink, Toby Delius, Beniot Delbecq, Eric Boeren, Paul Lovens, Marc Saunders and Canadian artists Francois Houle Jean Martin, Hugh Fraser, Brad Turner, Dylan van der Schyff, Peggy Lee.