About Abram Wilson
New Orleans raised Abram Wilson was a multi-award winning jazz trumpeter, composer and educator. Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, U.S.A, he died aged 38 years, on 9th June 2012 in London, England having been diagnosed with cancer just three days earlier.
In memory of Abram, his passion for jazz music and the many ideas he still had left to realise, his family, friends and supporters are establishing the Abram Wilson Foundation to continue his legacy.
In his short life Abram taught thousands of people, from young children to grown adults, to experience music with their hearts through his warmth of spirit, sincerity and positivity. He was a hugely talented performer and brought joy to many lives through his music and his ability to communicate and celebrate life through his love for jazz.
The Abram Wilson Foundation will ensure that all those who were touched by Abram's work - followers, students and collaborators alike, have an opportunity to continue appreciating his gifts: his ideas, uplifting enthusiasm and belief in the power of music.
To kick start the Foundation we plan to complete one of Abram’s final project, Philippa. This project will serve as a tribute and lasting memory to the life of an artist whose music and joy had such a profound impact on the thousands of people he came into contact with throughout his career.
Before Abram died he said that he still had so much he wanted to do, and we see the fruition of his unfinished project, Philippa, as the first step in making those ambitions a reality. You can help us achieve this by donating to the Abram Wilson Foundation.
Abram would want us all to celebrate his life and feel good about the future. We hope you will support us and in so doing, keep Abram's legacy and vision alive.
Abram would want us all to celebrate his life and feel good about the future. We hope you will support us and in so doing, keep Abram's memory and life's work alive.
To enquire about making a donation please visit
We successfully fundraised approximately $20,000 (£12,5000) between June – August 2012 using the online fundraising platform Kickstarter and donations from Abram’s memorial service.
This is only the beginning and we require significantly more to fully bring to life both elements of the Philippa Project and properly establish the Foundation. There is an unreleased live recording of the Abram Wilson Quartet performing music from Philippa in April 2012. We hope to release this as a posthumous album so that this incredible music, storytelling and performance can be accessed by all.
We will also use the proceeds to enter the next stage of development in the jazz-theatre production of Philippa. This will involve further research by the director Pia Furtado, finding our new composer and writer to develop the copious ideas Abram had already sketched out and another two-week research and development period with a team of musicians and actors.
For more information on the Kickstarter campaign please follow this link:
About the Philippa Project
Philippa, is inspired by the life of Philippa Schuyler who was born in 1931 to a black father from Harlem and a white upper-class mother from Texas. Thanks to biographer Katherin Talalay, Abram was able to find out all about Philippa's life by reading her fascinating book Composition in Black and White.
He quickly discovered that Philippa was a child prodigy. By the time she was four, she was playing Bach minuets and only two years later, performing at Carnegie Hall and described as the 'Shirley Temple of American Negroes'. However, once an adult, the American classical music world rejected her - the days of segregation presenting a glass ceiling despite her talent. Philippa nonetheless toured the world, delighting audiences on every continent, but never managing to garner the success she achieved in her childhood. Eventually she gave up her career as a pianist to follow her father into journalism, which took her to Vietnam. It was here, in 1967, aged 35, that she tragically died in a helicopter accident.
Abram, moved by her story, had written a series of tunes inspired by Philippa's life. He had opened the door to a lost story about an artist's struggle with success and identity. Abram was keen to continue Philippa's legacy and his gift for storytelling, fantastic music and an exciting young band had already proven appealing to a wide range of audiences who had sampled Philippa.
Abram was in he middle of touring Philippa when he was suddenly admitted into hospital on 25th May 2012. His band had an extensive tour booked during the summer and another 10 dates confirmed for the autumn with more in the pipeline. Abram had planned to record the Philippa album at the beginning of July ready for an October 2012 release. Additionally he had just completed a two-week Arts Council England funded development process, exploring the theatrical possibilities of the piece.
Having spent ten years in the UK forging his career, Abram was planning to take Philippa to the States and re-establish himself as a jazz artist in his own country. He truly believed in the potential of this project to move and impact audiences, both musically and theatrically.