David Wright (arranger)

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David Wright
David Wright lectures at Harmony University, 2017.
David Wright lectures at Harmony University, 2017.
Background information
Born (1949-12-01) December 1, 1949 (age 71)
Mattoon, Illinois
GenresBarbershop, a cappella
Occupation(s)Arranger, coach, professor
Associated actsAmbassadors of Harmony

David Lee Wright (born December 1, 1949) is a mathematics professor, barbershop arranger, and Associate Director of the Ambassadors of Harmony (AOH).[1] He is a noted a cappella historian and arranger,[2][3] especially in the barbershop style where in 12 of 18 years from 1999 to 2016, his arrangements resulted in chorus gold medals at the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) International Contest.[4] Wright travels the world as a barbershop historian, coach, and mathematics lecturer.[5][6][7][8]

Early life[edit]

Wright grew up in Mattoon, Illinois, and currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from David Lipscomb University in Nashville then earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics at Columbia University in New York. He joined the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis in 1972. He is married to Sandi Wright, Sweet Adelines International Quartet Champion of 1978 and 1986 with Tetrachords and Ambiance.[9]


Wright is retired from his position as a professor of Mathematics at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also served as Chair of the Mathematics Department for several years.[10] His research of affine algebraic geometry and polynomial automorphisms has led to publications and invitations to speak at international mathematics conferences. He designed and teaches a university course in Mathematics and Music, and has directed seminars across the globe on that topic.[11][12][13][14]

Barbershop harmony[edit]

Wright is an arranger and composer of vocal music, where his work often integrates the close harmony barbershop style with jazz, gospel, contemporary a cappella and more.[15] He is the Associate Director of the St. Charles Ambassadors of Harmony, an award-winning male chorus of 130 singers. He was inducted into the Barbershop Harmony Society Hall of Fame in 2008. He has arranged hundreds of songs in the barbershop style, including some co-arranged with Deke Sharon,[16] and has earned four international chorus gold medals with the Ambassadors of Harmony. As a quartet singer he has won three district championships. He has appeared on national radio and TV broadcasts, and has authored several articles on vocal harmony in addition to a textbook on math & music.[17][18][19]


  1. ^ Bassett, Kathie (August 10, 2009). "Golden moment for area chorus". The Alton Telegraph – via ProQuest.
  2. ^ Weber, Bruce (August 11, 1998). "Just a Bunch of Guys Who Har-mo-niiiiize; The Sound of Barbershop Quartets Echoes Happily Through the Land". The New York Times. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Wright, David (August 7, 2013). "An Examination of the Barbershop Style". Barbershop Harmony Society. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  4. ^ "Meet the Arrangers: Deke Sharon and David Wright". Barbershop Harmony Society. February 17, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  5. ^ Silio, Elisa (October 2, 2013). "En los institutos matemáticos de Estados Unidos hay pianos". El Pais. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "Advanced Arranging Seminar with David Wright". Harmony Rag. Spring 2009. p. 3. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  7. ^ "Jim Henry and David Wright Coach Vocal Majority". The Vocal Majority. May 19, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  8. ^ "Arranging for A Cappella Barbershop Music". Baruch College. March 19, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Dorr, Dave (December 16, 1994). "Stars and Stripes: A new breed of barbershop musicians thrives in St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. F1. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  10. ^ Canfield, Jack; Hansen, Mark Victor (2008). Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting In... to College. United States of America: Simon & Schuster. p. 348. ISBN 978-1935096276.
  11. ^ Phillips, Lee (March 6, 2016). "Mathematics meets music: Three researchers attempt to bring some rigor to the math of melody". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Lutz, Diana (June 14, 2012). "Amazingly mathematical music". The Source. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  13. ^ Wright, David; Thomas, Jude (March 12, 2016). "David Wright: A Conversation". Voices of Gotham. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  14. ^ "Lock and Ring: A History of Barbershop Harmony". symphonyspace. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  15. ^ Shaver, Toby (July 18, 2017). "GOLD MEDAL MOMENTS – 039 – DAVID WRIGHT". Gold Medal Moments. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  16. ^ "David Wright: Arranger". Primarily Acappella. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  17. ^ Early, Rosalind (September 18, 2012). "Professor David Wright Analyzes Music With Math". St. Louis Magazine. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  18. ^ Wright, David (2009). Mathematics and Music. United States of America: American Mathematical Society. ISBN 978-0821848739.
  19. ^ Wright, David (January 2015). "The African-American Roots of Barbershop (and why it matters)" (PDF). The Harmonizer. pp. 10–15. Retrieved October 30, 2017.