The College of Arts and Architecture

Vincent Benitez

Vincent Benitez
Music Theory

Vincent Benitez, associate professor of music theory, joined the Penn State School of Music faculty in 2005 and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music theory and analysis. He holds a Ph.D in music theory from Indiana University, where he wrote his dissertation on Olivier Messiaen's opera Saint François d'Assise, and the DMA degree in organ performance from Arizona State University, where he wrote his doctoral thesis on the musical-rhetorical figures in J. S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein and their implications for performance. He also holds a master's degree in music theory and composition from Arizona State University, and bachelor's and master's degrees in organ performance from the University of North Texas.

As a music theorist, Benitez specializes in music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with research interests that include musical aesthetics and post-tonal theory as related to the music of Oliver Messiaen. Benitez is finishing an analytical monograph on Messiaen’s opera Saint François d'Assise (Indiana University Press, forthcoming), which combines his interests in musical aesthetics, opera, post-tonal analysis, music history, synesthesia, and Christian theology. He is the author of Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide (Routledge), widely acknowledged as the standard bibliographic resource on the composer. He is currently under contract from Routledge to develop a second edition of the guide, which will feature a comprehensive accounting of Messiaen’s 203 birdsong notebooks, along with the holdings of the Fondation Messiaen in Paris.

Benitez has published articles on Messiaen in the conference proceedings from the Sacre Celebration: Revisiting, Reflecting, Revisioning, York University, Toronto; Music Analysis; Messiaen the Theologian (Ashgate); the Dutch Journal of Music Theory; the Journal of Musicological Research; the fourth volume of the Poznan Studies on Opera (Theories of Opera); Music Theory Online; and the College Music Symposium. He has also published reviews of books devoted to Messiaen in Music Theory Spectrum, Performance Practice Review, MLA NOTES (six separate reviews), and the Indiana Theory Review.

Benitez has presented his research on Messiaen at numerous national and international music conferences, including the national meeting of the Society for Music Theory, Charlotte, NC; the eighth biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900,  Liverpool, UK; the national meeting of the American Musicological Society, New Orleans, LA;  the first Perspectives on Musical Improvisation Conference, Oxford, UK;  the meeting of the International Musicology Society, Rome, IT;  the VII European Music Analysis Conference, Rome, IT; the Messiaen International Centenary Conference, Birmingham, UK; and the ninth International Conference of the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory in the Netherlands. In 2015, he gave papers on Messiaen and improvisation as a keynote speaker for the Spring 2015 meeting of the New York State/St. Lawrence chapter of the American Musicological Society at York University in Toronto, CA, and as an invited lecturer for the Eastman School of Music's Eastman Theory Colloquium.

Additional research interests include the analysis of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music, the history of music theory, and popular music. Benitez has published articles and reviews on these topics in The Album: A Guide to Pop Music’s Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations (Praeger); The American Organist, BACH, Diapason, GAMUT, Improvisation and Music Education: Beyond the Classroom (Routledge, forthcoming), the Indiana Theory Review, and the Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale. Benitez has presented lectures on the music of Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello at the International Conference on Analyzing Popular Music (PopMAC) and the University of Liverpool, as well as papers on Dieterich Buxtehude at the 15th (University of Southampton, England) and 16th (University of Music and Dramatic Arts Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria) International Baroque Music Conferences. He is the author of The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years (Praeger). His interest in the music of the Beatles has resulted in a popular online general education course at Penn State concerning the Fab Four’s music (MUSIC 109: The Music of the Beatles) that he wrote for non-music majors.

Benitez has studied organ with Marilyn Keiser, Larry Smith, Michael Corzine, Robert Clark, Charles S. Brown, and Donald Willing, and harpsichord with Karyl Louwenaar Lueck, John Metz, Susan Ferré, Charles Brown, and Dale Peters. He has also studied composition with Randall Shinn, Glenn Hackbarth, William Latham, and Merrill Ellis.

Books: 
The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years Praeger Singer-Songwriter Collection. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2010.
The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years
Praeger Singer-Songwriter Collection. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2010.
Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide Vincent Benitez A biography and bibliography of the life and works of the French composer. Routledge Publishing, 2007 ISBN: 9780415973724 ISBN-10: 0415973724
Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide
Vincent Benitez
A biography and bibliography of the life and works of the French composer.
Routledge Publishing, 2007
ISBN: 9780415973724
ISBN-10: 0415973724
"Ram (1971)” and “Band on the Run (1973)"

"Ram (1971)” and “Band on the Run (1973)"

Vincent Benitez

In The Album: A Guide to Pop Music’s Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations, ed. James E. Perone, 147–56; 275–85. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2012.

"Messiaen and Aquinas" Vincent Benitez In Messiaen the Theologian, ed. Andrew Shenton, pp. 101-26. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010.
"Messiaen and Aquinas"
Vincent Benitez
In Messiaen the Theologian, ed. Andrew Shenton, pp. 101-26. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010.
"Narrating Saint Francis's Spiritual Journey: Referential Pitch Structures and Symbolic Images in Olivier Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise." In Poznan Studies on Opera. Vol. 4, Theories of Opera, ed. Maciej Jablonski, 363-411. Poznan, Poland: Publishing House of the Poznan Society for the Advancement of the Arts and Sciences, Section of Music and Fine Arts, Publication of the Committee for Musicology, vol. 16, 2004.
"Narrating Saint Francis's Spiritual Journey: Referential Pitch Structures and Symbolic Images in Olivier Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise."
In Poznan Studies on Opera. Vol. 4, Theories of Opera,
ed. Maciej Jablonski, 363-411.
Poznan, Poland: Publishing House of the Poznan Society for the Advancement of the Arts and Sciences, Section of Music and Fine Arts, Publication of the Committee for Musicology, vol. 16, 2004.