Wilson was awarded the Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music in 1982, where he studied composition with Samuel Adler. While finishing his doctorate degree at Eastman, he wrote his thesis on "the role of texture in selected works of Toru Takemitsu". Wilson also holds degrees from the University of Connecticut (M.A.) and Bowdoin College (B.A.). Wilson is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Music at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches music composition. He is co-author of Contemporary Choral Arranging, published by Prentice Hall, and has written on diverse musical subjects, including his own compositional process in "A Composer's Insight, Vol. 4" and "Composers on Composing for Band, Vol. 2." He has been a Yaddo Fellow (at Yaddo, the artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York), a Wye Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a Charles A. Dana Fellow, and a Fellow at the Society for Humanities, Cornell University.