Canadian composer/musicologist James Wright has taught at Wilfrid Laurier University, McGill University, the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University, where he is a Professor of Music and Supervisor of Performance Studies in the the School for Studies in Art and Culture. In 2002, his Ph.D. dissertation on Schoenberg and Wittgenstein was awarded a Governor General’s Gold Medal, the first time in McGill University’s history that this distinction has been conferred upon a musicologist.
His first book, Schoenberg, Wittgenstein, and the Vienna Circle (Bern: Verlag Peter Lang, 2006, 2nd ed’n 2007) received a Lewis Lockward Award from the American Musicological Society. His second book, Schoenberg’s Chamber Music, Schoenberg’s World (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2009), co-edited by Alan Gillmor, gathers contributions from thirteen distinguished musicologists from around the globe. It has been described as a book that “reveals that Schoenberg’s legacy lives on in his chamber music … [a] substantive volume that fills an important void, and makes several compelling arguments for a general reappraisal of Schoenberg and offers a multifaceted and wide-ranging view of his compositional trajectory” (Frank J. Oteri, Chamber Music America, January 2010). James Wright is currently completing a book on Eldon Rathburn, a Canadian composer who wrote more than 300 film scores during a distinguished 40-year career as a staff composer with the National Film Board of Canada. They Shot, He Scored: The Music, Methods and Milieu of NFB Composer Eldon Rathburn will be published in 2017 by McGill-Queen’s Press.
James Wright has served as Vice-President of ONMC (Ottawa New Music Creators) and on the Board of the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. As a composer, he is perhaps best known for his vocal and choral works, a number of which involve the integration of music with dance and visual art. His music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by soloists and choirs throughout North America, and is published by Warner-Chappell Music (Miami), Leslie Music (Oakville), Songwright Music (Ottawa), Cypress Music (Vancouver), Rhythmic Trident Music (Vancouver), Fairbank Music (Victoria), and Da Capo Music (Manchester, UK).