Gladys Wright

Founder of the Women Band Directors International
Founding President of WBDI

Gladys Wright was born in Wasco, Oregon where she attended public school until she moved to Lebanon, Oregon. She attended one year at Willamette University in Salem, later transferring to the University of Oregon where she received both her Bachelor and Master degrees in music education with a minor in psychology. Her instrument is the clarinet.

Teaching experience:

1948 – 1953 Elmira Union High School Elmira, Oregon
1954 – 1961 Otterbein High School Otterbein, Indiana
1963 – 1970 Klondike High School West Lafayette, Indiana
1970 – 1984 Wm Henry Harrison High School West Lafayette, Indiana


Contest Ratings:

Large ensemble: 60 superior ratings, includes State and District Contests.
Solo and Small Ensembles – over 1500 superiors.


Awards and Honors:

1959 Elected to “American School Band Directors Assn.” (3rd woman)
1969 Founding President, Women Band Directors National Association
1970 National Band Association “Citation of Excellence”
1970 “International Peace Gardener”, North Dakota Peace Gardens
1971 Tau Beta Sigma “National Service in Music Award”
1973 National Honorary Membership to Phi Beta Mu (1st woman)
1974 “Silver Baton”, Women Band Directors National Assn.
1974 Honorary Arizona Bandsman, Tucson, Az.
1975 “Key to the City of Taxco”, Mexico.
1975 “Creative Arts Award”, Lafayette, Indiana
1977 School Musician’s Top Ten, “They Are Making America Musical”
1984 Elected to American Bandmasters Assn. (1st woman)
1988 “Sudler Order of Merit” – John Philip Sousa Foundation
1988 Kentucky Colonel Award, Louisville, KY
1990 “International Golden Rose”, Women Band Directors National Assn.
1991 “Gold Medal” – Sudler Order, John Philip Sousa Foundation.
1991 Editor of the Woman Conductor, Women Band Directors National Assn.
Chairman, Sudler Flag and Cup Committee, Sousa Foundation
Conductor and Assistant Tour Director: United States Collegiate Wind Bands
Adjudicator for International Music Festivals, Kalamazoo, Michigan
U.S. Contributing Editor: Spanish music magazine, INFORMUSICA, Valencia
Vice President of International Music Tours
1995 Elected into the International Women Band Conductor’s Hall of Fame
1997 Inducted to National Band Association Hall of Fame (first woman)
1997 Honorary Citizen, Chamonix, France
2000 Selected “Great People of Greater Lafayette”
2001 Selected as one of 25 University of Oregons “ Most Influential Alumni “in the past 125 years.
2001 Phi Beta Mus, “Distinguished Service to Music Award”, Al and Gladys Wright
2002 Harrison High School, “Gladys Wright Hall of Honor”
2003 “Sagamore of the Wabash”, Indiana Governor’s award for excellence and contributions.
2004 Unpublished biographies of Al and Gladys Wright, THE MUSIC MAKERS
2005 A second “Kentucky Colonel Award”

Publications: Marches: Big Bowl and Trumpets and Tabards, publisher Carl Fischer. Articles in School Musician, Woman Conductor.
Listed in “2,000 Notable American Women”, “Personalities of the West and Mid-West “,”World’s Who of Women”, “Who’s Who of Women”, “The International Who’s Who in Music”, and “ Who in Education”.

Currently, 2007 at 82 years, Gladys Wright is involved in the Women Band Directors International, the Wolf Park, the Sousa Foundation, (the Sousa Executive Board) and the Band Museum which is in the Italian Villa in downtown Lafayette, IN, located at 601 New York St.