(fl ?1575–?1612). English composer and possibly singer. He may be identifiable with the Thomas Wilkinson who was a lay clerk at Norwich Cathedral between 1575 and 1580 (the cathedral account for 1581–2 contains a payment to him for composing church music) and at King's College, Cambridge, between 1580 and 1595, where in 1587–8 he was senior lay clerk and for a time he seems to have had some responsibility for teaching the choristers. With the appointment of Edward Gibbons in 1592–3 as Informator choristarum Wilkinson was demoted to second place. The two rather dull full anthems O Jerusalem and Why art thou so full of heaviness? (GB-Y) may be by this composer and date from this period.
A man known only as ‘Wilkinson’ replaced John Hilton as organist and master of the choristers at Trinity College, Cambridge, sometime between March and September 1609; he was still there in May 1612. This man, who in 1610 and 1612 received payments from the Senior Bursar for viol strings and repairs, may be either the ex-King's College lay clerk, or a different, younger man. One Wilkinson played the part of lutenist in a Trinity College play in 1602–3 and was an undergraduate chorister there in 1605–6, taking the BA in 1606.
Whether or not the Trinity Wilkinson is one and the same composer as Thomas Wilkinson of Norwich and King's, the former is almost certainly the composer of the large quantity of music with viols, as there is no evidence that King's College maintained a viol consort at this period. There are three fragmentary five-part pavans ascribed to ‘Mr Wilkinson’ in a Cambridgeshire source that also contains music by John Amner and ‘Mason’ as well as an anonymous Trinitye Colledg pavan (Lbl Add.30826–8). Music by Thomas Wilkinson also appears with that of another Trinity College musician, Robert Ramsey (in Lbl Add.29366–8), adding further weight to the argument that he is the Trinity College Wilkinson.
Wilkinson's many verse anthems with accompaniment for viols, probably for use at Trinity College, are unusual in conforming largely to a strict alternation of verse and chorus sections, generally three of each. Their style is essentially polyphonic with restrained touches of harmonic colour. The texts are composite, assembled mostly from the Psalter, and the majority are penitential.
3 full anthems, 4, 5vv, some with viols, org, GB-Cp, Cu, Lbl, Y
12 verse anthems (3 inc.), Ckc (attrib. R. Dering), Cp, Cu, DRc, Lbl, Lcm (1 attrib. T. Hunt, 1 attrib. Dering), LF, Ob (1 attrib. Dering), Och, WB, WRch, Y (also attrib. Dering), US-NYp
2 Eng. pieces (1 for 3vv), GB-Lbl (attrib. ‘Tho. Wilkin’ and ‘Wilkinson’)
3 pavans, inc., Lbl Add.30826–8 (attrib. ‘Mr Wilkinson’); ed. I. Payne: Cambridge Consorts: Pavans and Galliards in 5 Parts from Add. MSS 30826–8 (St Albans, 1991), 11–13
PETER LE HURAY/IAN PAYNE
Wilkinson, C(olm) T(homas)
(b Dublin, 5 June 1944). Irish tenor. From a musical family, he toured the USA in a folk-rock band at the age of 16, and in 1978 represented Ireland in the Eurovision song contest with his own Born to Sing. After taking the role of Judas in Rice and Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar in London (1972) he recorded the role of Che Guevara on that team’s concept album recording of the rock musical Evita (1976). In this role he was able to exploit his exceptionally wide vocal range and high tessitura coupled to strong diction and and a wide range of tonal colorations to suit styles from soft melodic to heavy rock. In 1985 he created the leading role of Jean Valjean in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Bloubil and Schonberg’s Les misérables. Through his hauntingly emotional rendition of ‘Bring him home’, drawing upon floated high notes coloured with intense vibrato, he influenced the sound of subsequent leading male singers in the West End.
Wilkinson [Wylkynson], Robert
(bc1475–80; d 1515 or later). English composer. He was appointed parish clerk at Eton College in 1496, and may possibly have been a scholar there (one of probably two Wylkynsons who were Eton scholars in the early 1490s); he was a singing clerk in 1499 and informator choristarumc1500–15, serving as Constable of Eton in 1502 and witnessing the will of the College's Purser, William Tawnton, in 1506. He may have died c1515; alternatively, he may have left the College to seek ordination. A Dominus Robert Wilkinson (d 1538) was instituted rector of Haddenham in June 1519 by the Prior and Chapter of Rochester. Nine pieces by Wilkinson were included in the Eton Choirbook (GB-WRec 178; ed. in MB, x–xii, 1956–61), of which one is incomplete, three survive only as fragments and two are lost. Seven of these appear in the main layer of the manuscript; two were added later, possibly by Wilkinson himself.
Wilkinson's five-voice Salve regina and incomplete four-voice Gaude virgo may be among his earlier surviving works. His massive nine-voice Salve regina, based on the plainsong cantus firmus Assumpta est Maria in celum, is an important example of the large-scale sonorous style cultivated by English composers during the early 16th century. Also in this tradition is the 13-voice canon Jesu autem transiens/Credo in deum, a setting of the Apostles' Creed prefaced by a fragment of plainsong. Both works incorporate verbal canons: these may offer some insight into the composer's learning or perhaps reveal a predilection for intricate devices and puzzles, as may the elaborate depiction of the nine orders of angels in the initial letters of the nine-voice Salve in the Eton manuscript. Wilkinson's Credo was copied, c1580–1606, by John Baldwin into his commonplace book (GB-Lbl R.M.24.d.2) as a curiosity. In O virgo prudentissima Wilkinson set a poem written by Angelo Poliziano in 1493, taken perhaps from the latter's Opera omnia (Venice, 1498). His Salve decus castitatis was included in a choirbook recorded in an inventory of books at King's College, Cambridge, in 1529.