Monday, October 18, 2021
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The Wright Touch Pianist back home in Fort Worth but not slowing down

🕐 6 min read

Danny Wright


Twitter: @TheDannyWright


His work available on Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and

iHeart Radio.

For information on the Aug. 13 Old Bedford School concert:

Visiting with Fort Worth native and world-class pianist Danny Wright on a sunny afternoon in a showroom full of Steinways is a music video experience. It’s easy to see why he has adoring fans all over the world (more than 2,500 Facebook friends, too) and no less than 53 successful recordings, one for each year of his life.

He is as down-to-earth and accessible as his music is florid and emotional.

Longtime friends and local fans will be glad to know that Wright moved back to Fort Worth in January, ending a successful five-year stint in Las Vegas and increasing the opportunities to hear him perform live locally.

“I went through a transition in my life and I came back home,” he said recently. “It was interesting, I lived in the Red Rock Mountains, and it was pretty, but it [Las Vegas] was not for me.”

What’s new that longtime Wright fans will like? A concert is on the calendar at Old Bedford School on Aug. 13, and a new recording called Unconditional Love, dedicated to the Humane Society of the United States, is coming up.

Wright approaches his career hands-on, and that’s well beyond the keyboard.

He is incredibly prolific, recording several CDs a year, composing music for those projects as well as commissioned works, and performing concerts and teaching master classes around the world as a 27-year Steinway Artist.

“I’ve been recording since 1985. I started playing piano when I was 4 years old,” Wright said. “My teacher was Harris Cavender, who taught me for the first 15 years.”

He then attended Texas Christian University on a full music scholarship and hasn’t looked back since.

Although piano music in Fort Worth is forever linked with the late Van Cliburn and his namesake international piano competitions, Wright turned pro too early to be a part of that scene. He was connected with the Van Cliburn Foundation for a while.

“When I was of age to compete, I was already composing and arranging,” he said. He recently regained ownership of his first 21 albums, which were originally recorded on the Moulin D’or label. Among his most successful recordings are a 7-disc series of Broadway tunes called Black & White, themed Christmas and sacred music albums, a Barbra Streisand tribute, and music from movies.

Much of Wright’s commercial success is due to his musical flexibility. He specializes in adult contemporary piano, New Age, classical, Broadway show tunes and film music. He has performed as both a solo artist and a guest artist with pops symphonies and has played at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, Schoenburg Hall in Los Angeles, the Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall in Las Vegas, the Morton Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and the Levitt Pavilion in Arlington, among many others.

“He knows how to touch the human soul,” said Rice Tilley Jr. of Fort Worth. He and his wife Sandra recently celebrated their anniversary with a party at Rivercrest Country Club, and had Wright play for the occasion. They sent guests home with Danny Wright CDs to enjoy later.

“He has a knack for selecting music that touches a lot of Americans, especially patriotic Americans,” Tilley said.

Since returning to Fort Worth, Wright has performed at several private events and racked up the largest concert attendance ever at the Fort Worth Woman’s Club. The Steinway Hall on Camp Bowie hosted an album release party recently, and Wright spent two days recording material for the company’s new player piano system Spirio.

For his Aug. 13 Old Bedford School performance, he will be joined by Debbie Brooks, cellist with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

He will perform a private concert on Oct. 22 to benefit the Schola Cantorum of Texas and the Fort Worth Chorale.

This fall he will return to China for a seven-city concert tour and will teach master classes at the Steinway dealerships in those cities.

Wright recently won Best Instrumental Album of the Year in the Akademia Awards in Los Angeles for his Amazing Grace collection of traditional hymns. He dedicated the album to his late parents, Clinton and Gloria Wright. Clinton Wright was a builder and realtor, Gloria Wright a decorator.

The big venues are majestic, but Wright said the smaller places are his favorites.

“I like intimate halls so I can connect with the audience,” Wright said. “Sometimes I’m so close that I can talk to them and connect with them right there.”

Wright has arguably the most enthusiastic fandom in the region next to Willie Nelson, and he is a natural on social media, interacting daily with his fans and supporters on various platforms.

“I have people who’ve been following me forever,” he said with a gentle laugh. “People will come to the shows with inserts from my old CDs and even cassette tapes. They’ll dump them out all over the table, and I’ll sign each one.

“Vinyl is hot right now, so sometimes I see that,” he said. “Just shows you, what goes around comes around.”

Wright has released two collections of sheet music. The latest is his complete music collection. It includes his original works as well as other favorite pieces. Many are commissioned pieces.

“All my music’s in my head,” Wright said. “If someone asks me to play a song from 1986, I can do it on the spot.”

The commissioned pieces are pricey, but for a special occasion like a birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day or even Valentine’s Day, the presentation is a meaningful gift.

“People commission me to write about members of their family. They send me a picture of that person and a paragraph about them,” he said. “I write an original song, they get a DVD presentation, a CD, a certificate of authenticity, and at the bottom it will say, ‘Your song will be performed in person at such and such a place on such and such a date’.”

It all comes in an elaborate presentation box, for $3,500. “It costs a lot to produce a video recording,” Wright said.

Joy Hall of Arlington was the recipient of one of Wright’s special presentations before he left Las Vegas.

“It had CD’s, candles, all kinds of gifts in it, and it looked like a treasure chest,” she said.

Her husband Robert flew her to Las Vegas for their 25th wedding anniversary, where Wright played a surprise private concert for her at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, debuting the song, “Joy’s Silver Lining” that he had written for her.

“I was taken aback,” she said. “There’s no one just like him. We’ve been friends since we saw him play at Caravan of Dreams twentysomething-years ago. I can always tell his piano playing from everyone else.”

Writing the song takes a lot of thought, an immersion into the personality of someone he has likely never met.

“First, I look at the picture they’ve sent, for a long time. I look at their eyes and their smile,” he said. “Then I read what the submitter writes about that person and start working on the melody.”

He often hears from the donor and the recipient after the fact.

“That’s why I know I have a purpose on this earth,” Wright said. “I wake up to beautiful emails from all over the world, every day.”

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