Composer Wilson Coker (1928-1982) received a bachelor’s of music at the St. Louis Institute of Music in 1949, a second bachelor’s of music from Yale University, and a master’s of music from Yale in 1954. In 1965, he earned a doctorate of musical arts from the University of Illinois. Coker was a scholar, teacher, and composer. He was hired as assistant professor of music and music education at Hartwick College in 1958, served as a Composer-In-Residence in Philadelphia through the Ford Foundation Young Composers Project in 1960, and was a guest lecturer in music at Swarthmore College in 1961. In the following years, he became the assistant to the president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York and taught at San Jose State University, California State University at Fresno, and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Coker’s compositions include Woodwind Quintet in Three Movements, Philharmonic Ode, Paean, Overture: With Bugle, Fife, and Drum, Lyric Statement for Orchestra, Declarative Essay for Orchestra, Concerto for Tenor-Bass Trombone and Symphonic Band, and Concertino for Bassoon and String Trio. In addition to his musical compositions, Coker wrote several articles on music theory and a book, Music and Meaning: A Theoretical Introduction to Musical Aesthetics (1972).
Wilson Coker worked in the Sprague-Smith studio.
In January of 1976, the original Sprague-Smith Studio — built in 1915–1916 and funded by music students of Mrs. Charles Sprague-Smith of the Veltin School — was destroyed by fire. Redesigned by William Gnade, Sr., a Peterborough builder, the fieldstone structure was rebuilt the same year from the foundation up, reusing the original fieldstone. A few…