Edward Wilkerson Jr.

21st Century Union March

Edward L. Wilkerson, Jr. is an internationally recognized composer, arranger, musician, and educator based in Chicago. As founder and director of the cutting edge octet, 8 BOLD SOULS, and the 25 member performance ensemble, SHADOW VIGNETTES , Wilkerson has toured festivals and concer halls throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East. Defender, a large-scale piece for Shadow Vignettes, was commissioned by the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund and featured in the 10th Anniversary of New Music America, a presentation of BAM's Next Wave Festival.

His music can be heard on fourteen recordings, including two film soundtracks and the critically acclaimed albums Birth of a Notion, and 8 Bold Souls, both on his own Sessoms Records label.

Wilkerson has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and the Community Arts Assistance Program, and has been cited in numerous music polls. A member of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble since 1977, Wilkerson has also played with such artists and groups as the AACM Big Band, Roscoe Mitchell,
Douglas Ewart, The Temptations, Chico Freeman, Gerri Allen, Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, and many others.

In his free time, Wilkerson, past president and longtime member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), teaches composition at the AACM School of Music.