Vera Wilson was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1942. She married Murray Wilson in 1965. After residing for a few short years in Australia and later England, they arrived in the United States in 1968 where she devoted the first twelve years to raising their three children.
As a linguist, fluent in five languages, Mrs. Wilson served as Foreign Press Translator for The Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh and Boston symphonies and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. She also translated foreign language reviews and features for Astral musicians. She held various positions at the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and The Curtis Institute of Music, among others. It was during this period that she recognized the need for direction and mentoring for graduating musicians as they transitioned from student to professional and prepared to launch their careers.
Vera Wilson’s passion for classical music and the young musicians who represent its future, led her to become Executive Director of the Astral Foundation in 1983. The foundation gave grants to support individual musicians and organizations in the disciplines of piano, voice and dance. It wasn’t long before she was invited to join the Board of Trustees. The Foundation closed its doors in 1991.
As Founder of Astral Artists, Mrs. Wilson opened its doors in 1992. The careers of many of today’s celebrated musicians, including guitarist Jason Vieaux, bass-baritone Eric Owens, pianist Simone Dinnerstein and the string trio Time for Three had their start at Astral Artists.
“Astral made an enormous difference for me at the start of my career. The transition from student to performer is a delicate period with many challenges and disappointments. Astral not only provided me with excellent performance opportunities, but also gave invaluable career guidance and feedback on developing myself as a performer. I will be forever grateful to Astral and to Vera Wilson.”Simone Dinnerstein, Astral Laureate Pianist
Vera Wilson currently serves on the boards of Astral Artists, The Presser Foundation, and the Kingston Chamber Music Festival. She serves on the recommendation boards of the Avery Fisher Artist Program Career Grants and the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia Career Grants. She is a member of the Cultural Cabinet of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and has served on the panel of adjudicators for the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Competition and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.
As Astral celebrates its 30th Anniversary, Vera Wilson continues to network on behalf of Astral artists, finding opportunities to showcase their extraordinary talent worldwide and to encourage them to share their musical inspiration with the community of students, seniors and the less advantaged. Her passion for helping emerging classical artists to establish their professional careers at the highest level remains at the core of Astral’s mission and vision to this day.
Photo Credits: Bonnie R. Slobodien