John Wright, born in 1956, grew up in northwest London and was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood, where he developed a love of music and learned to play the organ, piano and clarinet. From there he gained an organ scholarship to Trinity Hall, Cambridge and studied for a degree in Music. His organ teachers at this time were Douglas Hawkridge and Glyn Jenkins. At Cambridge John conducted the college chapel choir and choral society and sang in the Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) choir. A year of organ study in London at the Royal Academy of Music followed, during which time he was Assistant Organist at the church of St James, Sussex Gardens.
John embarked on a career in teaching at Felsted School, Essex, where he was in charge of chapel music. In 1982 he moved to Cheltenham to take up the post of Assistant Director of Music and organist at Cheltenham College. In 1984 he became the conductor of Charlton Kings Choral Society, a post he retains to this day. Following two years teaching at a school in Surrey John returned to Cheltenham in 1989 to teach at The Cheltenham Ladies’ College, where he had responsibility for choral music. His work with the college choir here included reaching the semi finals of Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year Competition, workshops with Brian Kay and John Rutter, and three music tours to Italy.
John now works as a freelance musician in the Cheltenham area, teaching piano and organ privately and at Cirencester College, where he also dabbles in Music Technology. He has held organist’s posts at Cirencester Parish Church and All Saints’ Church, Cheltenham, and is now Director of Music at St Peter’s Church, Leckhampton. He also travels around the country as an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
John is active as an organist and piano accompanist, often accompanying his wife Helen in song recitals. He has also composed a number of choral works, some of which are published by Animus Music. He is the newsletter editor of the Arthur Bliss Society, and has also worked closely with the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham to promote the music of Gustav Holst. He has played an active part in musical activities between Cheltenham and its twin towns of Annecy, Göttingen and Sochi.
In 2003 John received two awards from Cheltenham Arts Council in recognition of his contribution to music in the Cheltenham area.