The Al G. Wright (1916-2020) collection contains correspondence, programs, articles, notes, scores, and photographs documenting Wright's career as Director of Bands at Purdue University between 1954 and 1981, and his involvement in a variety of wind band organizations.
The collection is open for research use.
Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment: http://www.lib.umd.edu/scpa/contact
6.50 Linear Feet
The Al Wright papers cover the period from 1905 to 1991; the bulk of the materials date from 1955 to 1990. The papers consist of both personal and professional papers, correspondence, contracts, programs, monographs, scores, and photographs relating to Wright's career, and in particular, to his role as conductor of the Purdue University Bands.
The conductor, educator, and composer Al Wright (b. 1916 - d. 2020) was born in London, England, and attended public school in Pontiac, Michigan. In high school he was recruited to play french horn in the band. He went on to earn bachelors (1937) and masters (1947) degrees from the University of Miami in Florida. While in Florida he served as director of the Miami Senior High School Band and Symphony Orchestra (1938-1954), co-directed the Orange Bowl half-time show, and served as President of the Florida Orchestra Association, the Florida Bandmasters Association, and the Florida Music Educators Association.
In 1954 he joined the faculty of Purdue University as Director of Bands, a position he held until retirement in 1981. Under his direction, the Purdue Band developed a show band style with a high step marching in intricate formations with twirlers and dancers. This led to high profile performances at Radio City Music Hall and tours around the world.
Throughout his tenure at Purdue, Wright continued to be active in professional associations. He founded the National Band Association (NBA) in 1961 and served as its President, Secretary-Treasurer, and HOnorary Lift President. He served as President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board for the John Philip Sousa Foundation. He founded the United States Collegiate Wind Bands.
He was inducted into the American Bandmasters Association in 1949. In 1980 he was elected President of that organization, the same year that he received an Honorary Doctorate from Troy State University. Wright has published more than 150 monographs and magazine articles, and his work on marching band shows is widely admired. Wright has published music under the name George Stone.
This collection is organized into five series.
Gift of Al Wright, received in one shipment in September 2004.
Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library