Guest Conductor

Meet Wilson Southerland


Meet Wilson Southerland, the guest conductor for the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus for our holiday concert.

Wilson is in demand throughout the U.S., Africa, Europe, and the Middle East as pianist, conductor, coach, and educator. He made his conducting debut to high acclaim with Philip Glass’s Les Enfants Terribles at North Carolina Opera in 2012 and subsequently made his NYC soon after.

Wilson has traveled the world as a pianist, coach, assistant conductor, and recitalist at opera companies such as Opera Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, Les Azuriales Opera in France, Si Parla Si Canta in Italy, AIMS-Graz in Austria, and the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman. He was one of 24 singer/pianist duos worldwide chosen to compete in the Wigmore Hall International Art Song Competition in London. 

Stateside, Wilson was a principal coach at Seattle Opera for 3 seasons, as well as an associate conductor/pianist at Gotham Chamber Opera and Chelsea Opera (NYC), Opera Omaha, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Birmingham, Opera Memphis, Spoleto USA, and the Mark Morris Dance Group. He spends his summers as a principal conductor at The Ohio Light Opera. 

Wilson holds degrees in piano from Vanderbilt University and The Juilliard School, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Opera at the Eastman School of Music. Thanks to Rob Strauss, he is thrilled to be making his choral conducting debut with the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus this season.

Wilson believes in a world filled with compassion, connection, community, authenticity, and gratitude.

Wilson’s mantra: Plan in decades, think in years, work in months, live in days.