Our Workshop Leaders

Mat Wright MBE

Teacher, Conductor, Composer and Arranger

Mat has worked in a number of roles in education. He was a former member of Wakefield Cathedral Choir following the award of a full music scholarship to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and subsequently graduated from Bretton Hall College, going on to complete a PGCE in Music Education where he was awarded a commendation. He was recognised as an outstanding teacher (AST) early in his career and has worked in a variety of roles in Barnsley schools including as a Vice Principal and Advisory Teacher. He has also worked in FE and been a guest lecturer at Universities as a teacher trainer. His teaching has been used as an exemplar for schools across England and Wales in DFE publications and he has won regional and national awards. He currently works for the Astrea Academy Trust as a Deputy Director of Education that serves 27 schools in South Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire. 

Mathew, Eleanor Wright and Keith Norton established Barnsley Youth Choir in 2009. The choir now involves over 450 children from the local community, in an area of significant deprivation, formed into 6 separate choirs aged 4 – 24 years old. BYC has developed an outstanding international reputation, winning 8 first prizes and gold medals in international competitions and 3 Grand Prix including the World Choir Games 2014 (Riga), the European Choir Games 2015 (Magdeburg) and the European Choir Games 2017 (Riga). BYC is currently ranked 5th in the World in the Interkultur World Rankings – the highest ranked choir from Great Britain. Mat has taken Barnsley Youth Choir on numerous international tours since its inception 10 years ago. Barnsley Youth Choir has won a number of awards since it was founded including, most notably, the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2017 which recognised the outstanding work that the large volunteer team is involved in. Mat has also helped to establish a large adult community choir in Barnsley in 2016 – Barnsley Singers.

As a member of the international jury, Mat has worked in some of the most important competitions in the world including the World Choir Games in Sochi, Russia (2016) and Pretoria, South Africa (2018). He has worked with and led some of the world’s finest choirs and soloists and is in demand internationally as a choral clinician.  He has coached choirs from all over the world and worked as a workshop leader and led evaluations in France, Sweden, Russia, South Africa and Spain as well as throughout the UK. Mat has acted as a guest conductor for choirs from this country and abroad including the Aurin and Miraculum Choirs (Hun), Tuks Camerata (RSA), Adolf Fredriks School Choirs (Swe) and choirs from the Paris Conservatoire (Fra). Mat has worked with a number of outstanding international choral leaders including Professor Thomas Caplin (Nor), Laszlo Duranyik (Hun), Tony Margeta (Swe), Bernard Kruger (RSA), Renette Bower (RSA), Dr. Michael Barrett (RSA), Henri Pompidor (Fra) and Romans Vanags (Lat) as well as a number of outstanding leaders from the UK. He has worked closely with choirs from the Kodaly School in Kecskemet, Hungary and uses this system to develop singers and choirs.  

In 2019 Mathew was appointed as a representative for Great Britain on the World Choir Council. In January 2020 Mat was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to young people and music in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Mat has experience of working with many different types of choirs and is passionate about supporting choirs of all ages and abilities. Whilst he is comfortable working with all genres of music, he has a reputation for arranging and performing high quality popular, gospel and spiritual music and is in demand as a composer and arranger. He specialises in engaging and inspiring those who lack confidence and experience, and his enthusiasm and energy is infectious. He is passionate about the use of singing as a mechanism to engage, connect and transform communities.