Canadian Professor of Music, Composer, Writer & Pianist

Published Books and Articles

James K. Wright Composer, Educator, Musicologist, Pianist

James K. Wright Composer, Educator, Musicologist, Pianist


Wright, James K, They Shot, He Scored: The Life and Music of Eldon Rathburn (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, March 2019).
McGill-Queen’s University Press Spring 2019 catalog listing:–he-scored-products-9780773557154.php?page_id=46&. See articles posted at and

“Cutting across Canadian biography, film studies, and musicology, They Shot, He Scored is both a welcome contribution to scholarly research and an entertaining read for a more general audience.” – Michael Pinsonneault, CAML Review/Revue de l’ACBM 47, No. 2-3 (August-November/Août-Novembre, 2019): 101-102: Pinsonneault review of Wright-Rathburn (CAML Review Dec 2019).

“Wright’s book is unique and precious. I dare say that it will be consulted not only by readers interested in Rathburn, but also in the NFB, documentary film, train music, and the history of Canadian music and film music more broadly.” – Mathieu Lavoie, composer and professor of film music at l’Université du Québec à Montréal

“A superb work of scholarship. Anyone reading this book will discover something of the personality of an organization that provided a natural home for Eldon’s genius.” – Robert Verrall (NFB animator, director, film producer and administrator, 1945-85)

“A fascinating story, They Shot, He Scored is a fresh and welcome treatment of a near-forgotten figure in Canadian film history. Not only does it spotlight a lesser-known composer, it also deepens our understanding of the NFB and – for the first time – examines the music of early IMAX shorts.” – Benjamin Wright, Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto

“[They Shot, He Scored] represents a critical addition to our understanding of film music in Canada … [and] offers readers something new in the world of Canadian film history and scholarship.” – Michael B. Baker (Professor of Film Studies, Sheridan College), Canadian Historical Review, June 2020.

“It was a pleasure to read this thorough and engaging account of the life and work of the Canadian musician Eldon Rathburn. It is likely to remain for all time the authoritative source of information on Rathburn’s life and music.” – Robin Elliott,Chalmers Chair in Canadian Music, University of Toronto

“Rathburn was one of a kind, and Wright’s monograph is a superb contribution, meticulously documented and beautifully written.”
– Alan M. Gillmor, Emeritus Professor, Carleton University

A closely reated recording project with liner notes by James Wright – “The Romance of Improvisation in Canada: The Genius of Eldon Rathburn” (produced by Allyson Rogers and Adrian Matte and featuring 5 of Canada’s leading jazz players: Kevin Turcotte, Petr Cancura, Marianne Trudel, Adrien Veday and Jim Doxas) was released on the Montreal Justin Time Records label on November 2, 2018 (see and

Wright, James K. and Alan Gillmor (eds.), Schoenberg’s Chamber Music, Schoenberg’s World (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2009). Available at Amazon.Com, Amazon.Ca and Pendragon Press

REVIEWS: Frank J. Oteri, “Cover to Cover: Schoenberg Through his Chamber Music,” Chamber Music Magazine (a publication of Chamber Music America), January/February 2010, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 56-58. Schoenberg_Cover to Cover. See also Brian Simms, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association (Sept. 2010), 134-36

Wright, James K. Schoenberg, Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle (Bern: Verlag Peter Lang, second ed’n 2007). Available at Peter Lang Publishing

REVIEWS: Garry L. Hagberg, Philosophy in Review, Vol. 26, No. 6 (2007), 449-52. HagbergReview(WrightSchoenbergWittgenstein); Robert A. Sharpe (Emeritus Professor, University of Wales), Philosophical Investigations (July 2006), 306. Robert A Sharpe (Review) – Philosophical Investigations (July 2006); Rebecca K. Schmeltzer, Review of Schoenberg, Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, South Central Music Bulletin (Texas), VII/I (Fall 2009), 46-47.

Published Articles

Wright, James K. “Schoenberg’s Liszt: ‘Greater than an Artist: A Prophet!’” in Michael Saffle (ed.), Liszt’s Legacies (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2014): 29-41.

Wright, James K. “Review of Edward Walden’s Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved: Solving the Mystery,” NotesQuarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, 69/2 (Dec. 2012): 281-84.

Wright, James K. “Schoenberg, Mozart, and the Viennese Spieltrieb,” in Hartmut Krones and Christian Meyer (eds.), Mozart und Schönberg: Wiener Klassik und Wiener Schule (Vienna: Bolau Verlag, 2012): 177-93.

Wright, James K. “Mahler’s Contrapuntal Complexities and Berg’s Opus 6: ‘One of the Most Remarkable Noises Ever Imagined.’” Synthesis
and Innovation in the Works of Gustav Mahler 
[Studien zur Wertungsforschung 54] (Vienna: Universal, 2012): 110-25.

Wright, James K. “The Persistence of the Sentence-structure Paradigm in the Tunes of Tin Pan Alley” (under review).

Wright, James K. “ ‘One of the most remarkable noises ever imagined’: Berg’s Opus 6 and Mahler’s Contrapuntal Complexities,” Studien zur WertungsforschungSynthese und Innovation im Schaffen Gustav Mahlers (Wien: Universal, 2012).

Wright, James K. “Building a New World:  Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg (ca. 1905-1908)” in Peter Revers and Eliszabeth Kappel (eds.) Text and Context: Mahler’s Eighth Symphony (Vienna: Universal, 2011).

Wright, James K. “‘The Story of My Life’Weinzweig’s Divertimento Series,” in John Beckwith and Brian Cherney (eds.), Weinzweig: Essays on His Life & Music (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010): 225-67.

Wright, James K. “Glenn Gould and Second Vienna School Reception in the Soviet Union,” in James K. Wright and Alan M. Gillmor (eds.), Schoenberg’s Chamber Music, Schoenberg’s World (Hillsdale, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 2009).

Wright, James K. “Commentary on Asynchronous Preparation of Tonally Fused Intervals in Polyphonic Music,” Empirical Musicology Review, 3/2, 2008, 68-72.

Wright, James K. “Air of Another Planet: Glenn Gould’s Modernist Mission in Moscow and Leningrad,” Glenn Gould Magazine, 13/1 (Spring 2008), 38-44.

Wright, James K., & Bregman, Albert S. “Auditory Stream Segregation and the Control of Dissonance in Polyphonic Music,” Contemporary Music Review, 2/1, 1987, 63-92.

Conference Presentations

Wright, James K. “Mahler’s Contrapuntal Complexities and Berg’s Opus 6: ‘One of the Most Remarkable Noises Ever Imagined.’”
International Symposium: Gustav Mahler and Alban Berg, Kunstuniversität Graz, Graz, Austria, November 19, 2010.

Wright, James K. “Building a New World: Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg (ca. 1905 – 1908)” A Symphony Must be Like the World – Text and Context of Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, June 19, 2010. (Also presented in conjunction with the National Art Centre Orchestra’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Ottawa, June 18, 2010.)

Wright, James K. “Wittgenstein’s Conception of Mathematical ‘Scaffolding’ and Problems of Formalism in Post-tonal Theory and Composition,” Music and Numbers (conference of the Society for Music Analysis), Christ Church University, Canterbury, England, May 14-16, 2010.

Wright, James K. “Glenn Gould’s Conception of Performance as Slavery,” Paper presented to the Canadian University Music Society, Ottawa, May 30, 2009.

Wright, James K. “’Harmony of the Spheres’: A Musical Voyage into Space.” Annual Meeting of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Museum of Science and Technology, October 16, 2009.

Wright, James K. (panel chair) “Air of Another Planet: Glenn Gould’s Modernist Mission in Moscow and Leningrad.” International panel: Glenn Gould: Global Perspectives, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec, September 29. 2007.

Wright, James K. “Glenn Gould and Second Vienna School Reception in the Soviet Union.” July 27, 2007. Paper presented to an International Symposium, I Feel the Air of Another Planet: Schoenberg’s Chamber Music, Schoenberg’s World, Carleton University, Ottawa, July 26-30, 2007.

Wright, James K. “Homo Ludens: A Game-theoretical Approach to Music Theory and Composition,” Conversations: Music Scholarship Unbound, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, February 14, 2007.

Wright, James K. “Understanding Modernist Aesthetics Sub Specie Ludi.” Paper presented to the Annual Conference of the Canadian University Music Society, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, May, 2007.

Wright, James K. “Jean Papineau-Couture: Mid-Twentieth-Century Post-Tonal Experimentation in Canada.” Guest Lecture Series, University of Ottawa, March 30, 2007.

Wright, James K. “Schoenberg, Mozart, and the Viennese Spieltrieb,” Symposium: Vienna Classicism, Vienna Circles, Arnold Schoenberg Centre, September 10-13, 2006.

Wright, James K. “Mysticism, Ineffability, and the Musical Art Object Sub Specie Aeternitatis,” Forum on Music and Christian Scholarship, CalvinCollege, Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 25-26, 2006.

Wright, James K. “Wittgenstein’s Conception of Music Aesthetics,” Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, January 13-16, 2006.

Wright, James K. “Schoenberg, the Early Wittgenstein, and the Proper Role of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.” Colloque international: Wittgenstein, l’art, l’architecture, Centre Canadien de l’Architecture, Montréal, October 12-14, 2005.

Wright, James K. “Schiller’s Bird’s, Schoenberg’s Aircraft, and The “Icarus Principle”: the Is/Ought Dichotomy in Music-Theoretical Epistemology.” Paper presented to the Canadian University Music Society, London, Ontario, May 30, 2005.

Wright, James K. “‘In the Beginning was the Deed’: Schoenberg and Wittgenstein on the Limits of Language in Religion, Ethics, and Music Aesthetics.” Forum on Music and Christian Scholarship, Princeton University, February 20, 2005.

Wright, James K. “Matters of Fact: Schoenberg, Wittgenstein, and the Vienna Circle.” Paper presented to the Joint Meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory, Columbus, Ohio, November 2, 2002.

Wright, James K. “Schoenberg, Wittgenstein, and the Vienna Circle.” Colloquium, Faculty of Music, McGill University, September 21, 2001.

Wright, James K. “From Rameau’s Corps Sonore to Bregman’s Auditory Scene: Psycho-Acoustic Models for Understanding Harmonic Grouping and Interval Quality,” Paper presented at the 25th International Congress of the International Musicological Society, Royal College of Music, London, England, August 16, 1997.

Wright, James K. “The Dead Interval: Auditory Stream Segregation and the Control of Emergent Qualities in Polyphonic Music,” Paper Presented at the Fifth Workshop on the Physical and Neuropsychological Foundations of Music, Ossiach, Austria, August 17, 1985.