Celebrated musician Orville Wright died on June 2oth after losing his battle against cancer.
Wright was a Lecturer II of Performing Arts, College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. He left Trinidad for the United States in 1970 and studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston graduating in 1974.
Wright then worked at Berklee for 28 years, first as a faculty member for 13 years, and then as chair of the ensemble department for 15 years. While teaching at Berklee Wright played keyboard accompaniment for a number of Broadway shows that were playing in Boston at the time; including The Wiz, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Cats.
Wright also taught a steelpan class at Berklee during his tenure there. He in fact had a close relationship with Pan Trinbago serving as a consultant to the organizaton for roughly a decade, 1992 to 2002. During that period he reviewed and rewrote the criteria for steelband competitions. He also served as the chief adjudicator for Pan is Beautiful and Panorama.
Over the years Wright arranged music for a number of calypsonians based in the United States including, King Wellington. He also led his own quintet in Boston for fifteen years. While at Berklee, Wright led a team of fellow faculty members in performances and workshops at a Jazz Camp near Warsaw, Poland between 1990 and 1992.
Wright traveled extensively; teaching and playing in South Africa, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico. He recorded an album in Japan as a member of the Berklee All-Stars. At home in Trinidad Wright was the first person to arrange calypso music to be played by the military for Independence celebrations shortly before he left for Berklee.
Wright passed away exactly nine years after the release of the CD titled, Reid, Wright and Be Happy, which took place at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain. Simeon Sandiford, executive producer of that collection sent out a statement reflecting on his relationship with Wright as well as plans they had discussed for another project.