Mat Wright


Mat is the Artistic Director and founder of Barnsley Youth Choir, a community choir based in the north of England. He has worked in a number of roles in education in his career. A former member of Wakefield Cathedral Choir he gained a music scholarship to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and subsequently graduated from Bretton Hall College, completing a BA(Hons) in Music and PGCE with commendation. He was recognised and awarded Advanced Skills Teacher status early in his career and has worked in a variety of roles in schools including as Vice Principal and Advisory Teacher.

His teaching has been used as an exemplar for schools throughout Great Britain and he has won regional and national awards. He currently works for the Astrea Academy Trust as a Regional Director of Education that serves 27 schools in South Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire. Barnsley Youth Choir now involves over 400 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 and 3 Grand Prix from 9 competitions that it has entered, including the World Choir Games 2014 (Riga), the European Choir Games 2015 (Magdeburg) and the European Choir Games 2017 (Riga). BYC is currently ranked 3rd in the Interkultur World Rankings in its category.

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.

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 (2016) and Pretoria (2018).

He has worked with and led world renowned choirs and soloists, and is in demand internationally as a choral clinician. He has coached choirs throughout 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. He has worked closely with choirs from the Kodaly School in Kecskemet, Hungary and uses this system to develop singers and choirs. In 2019 Mat was appointed as a representative for Great Britain on the Interkultur World Choir Council. In January 2020 he 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 is passionate about the use of singing as a mechanism to engage, connect and transform communities.