Ottawa New Music Creators


James Wright

James Wright is a professor of music theory and composition at Carleton University in the School for Studies in Art & Culture. Author of two award-winning books on the life and works of Arnold Schoenberg, he is also known as a composer of vocal music whose works have been commissioned, performed and recorded by choirs and soloists throughout North America and Europe. Inspired by the works of the Group of Seven and their circle, James Wright’s nine-movement A Gallery of Song: Spirit of the Land employs poetic responses to the art by young Canadian authors, incorporates choreography, and provides performance specifications for the projection of the artworks above the choristers and dancers. Two fully choreographed performances of A Gallery of Song have been given at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, and in March 2014 the cycle was performed by maestro Luke McEndarfer and the U.S. National Children's Chorus (“America’s leading treble chorus") at the Los Angeles Broadstage Theatre. A recording by mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah and the Gryphon Trio of James Wright’s three-movement chamber art song cycle, “Letters to the Immortal Beloved – settings of poetic excerpts from Beethoven’s mysterious love letters of 1812 to a woman unknown – was released in July 2015 on a Naxos CD titled “Elements Eternal.”  The recording of another new work, “To Young Canadians” (a setting of words by the late Jack Layton), published by Cypress Music, has recently gone viral on the internet.  James Wright is an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre, and he was a founding board member of ONMC.  His music is published by Warner-Chappell Music (Miami), Leslie Music (Oakville), Songwright Music (Ottawa), Rhythmic Trident Music (Vancouver), Fairbank Music (Victoria), Cypress Music (Vancouver) and Da Capo Music (Manchester, UK).  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 by the McGill-Queen’s Press in 2017.

Curtis Perry