In January 2002, John Wallace became Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Long acclaimed as a virtuoso trumpet player, his performances as soloist with leading orchestras and conductors and at major festivals and venues throughout the world have established him as a musician of enormous distinction. In 1995, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his distinguished services to music. In February 2002, he became the first orchestral musician to receive the ABO Award from the British Orchestras as the individual considered to have made the most outstanding contribution to orchestral life in the UK. In March 2003, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Among the many new works he has premiered are concertos by Sir Malcolm Arnold, Tim Souster, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Robert Saxton, Dominic Muldowney, James MacMillan and Mark-Anthony Turnage, a trumpet quintet by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and a work for two trumpets and percussion by Harrison Birtwistle. As concerto soloist he has appeared with conductors Neeme Jarvi, Riccardo Muti, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Andrew Davis, Yuri Termikanov, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Claus Peter Flor, Leonard Slatkin and the late Giuseppe Sinopoli. In addition to orchestral appearances, John Wallace has been greatly in demand as a recitalist and teacher. He has given masterclasses worldwide, has participated in Arts Council Network tours both in the UK and in Australia and has worked with the British Council in South Africa and Russia. In 1986 he founded the Wallace Collection, an ensemble devoted to the development of brass music and education and which fast became one of the world's pioneering brass groups.
John Wallace has an extensive list of recordings to his name. In addition to recording with the Philharmonia all the major trumpet repertoire, he has recorded Malcolm Arnold's Trumpet Concerto (together with a trumpet and keyboard disc) in the Virtuosi series for EMI and concertos by Maxwell Davies and, most recently, James MacMillan with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. With the Wallace Collection he has recorded a series of highly acclaimed discs the majority of which have been made available again under the group's own label.
John Wallace was born in Fife, Scotland, and educated at Buckhaven High School before reading Music at King's College, Cambridge. Until 1995, he was Principal Trumpet of the Philharmonia, a position which he held for nearly twenty years. With Professor Trevor Herbert he is co-editor of the Cambridge University Press Companion to Brass Instruments and he is currently researching the history and development of the trumpet for publication by the Yale University Press.
As a conductor Simon Wright has earned universal respect and acclaim for his interpretations of wide-ranging and of challenging orchestral and choral repertoire.
Throughout his professional career, which embraces roles as organist, accompanist, arranger and teacher, he has become established as a musician of enormous integrity, winning the admiration of musicians, audiences and critics alike.
In the UK, Simon Wright has conducted many British orchestras including the Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, English Northern Philharmonia, Northern Sinfonia, Manchester Camerata, English Chamber Orchestra and Northern Chamber Orchestra. A prize-winner in the 1986 Leeds Conducting Competition, Simon Wright has been Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the Leeds Festival Chorus since 1975 and Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the York Guildhall Orchestra since 1992. He has also been Musical Director of the Britten Singers since 1992, a choir which he established as one of the most versatile choral groups in the UK. He is deeply committed to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries and has conducted many orchestral and choral premières including, recently, Dominic Muldowney's The Fall of Jerusalem. In March 2005 he will conduct the second performance and British premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Canticum Canticorum with the Leeds Festival Chorus and BBC Philharmonic.
Simon Wright has toured extensively within Europe, appearing at many major festivals, including Edinburgh, and made his American début in New York in 1986. Recordings, both as conductor and keyboard player, with John Wallace OBE, the Wallace Collection and with the Philharmonia form a major part of his discography which includes recordings on the EMI, Nimbus, Collins Classics, GMN and IMP Masters labels. In 2003 he made his debut with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducting a recording of British trumpet concertos with John Wallace. Recent among his European engagements have been recordings and concerts with the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Bremen and the Philharmonie und Kammerphilharmonie des Mitteldeutschen Rundfunks Leipzig.
For the last two years he has conducted the English Chamber Orchestra at the Classical Brit Awards held in the Royal Albert Hall and broadcast on national television. In July he made his conducting debut with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Sunderland, Simon Wright was educated at Chetham's School, Manchester and at the Royal Manchester College of Music. A regular accompanist of the Hallé Choir, often working with Sir John Barbirolli, he won, at the age of 16, a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College. Four years later he was appointed Organist of the Benedictine foundation at Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire, a post which he relinquishes in the Summer of 2005.