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 the Ph.D. degree in music theory from Indiana University, where he wrote his dissertation on Olivier Messiaen's opera Saint François d'Assise, and the D.M.A. 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 they pertain to the music of Oliver Messiaen. Benitez is finishing an analytical monograph on Messiaen’s Saint François d'Assise, which combines his interests in musical aesthetics, 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 has published articles on Messiaen in the 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. Benitez has also published reviews of books devoted to Messiaen in Music Theory Spectrum (forthcoming), 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, which include, among others, papers delivered at (1) the National Meeting of the Society for Music Theory, Charlotte, NC; (2) the Eighth Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK; (3) the National Meeting of the American Musicological Society, New Orleans, LA; (4) the first Perspectives on Musical Improvisation Conference, University of Oxford, England; (5) the Meeting of the International Musicology Society, Rome, Italy; (6) the VII European Music Analysis Conference, Rome, Italy; (7) the Messiaen International Centenary Conference, Birmingham, England; (8) the Ninth International Conference of the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory, Groningen, The Netherlands; and (9) the Dublin International Conference on Music Analysis, Dublin, Ireland.
Additional research interests include the analysis of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music, the history of music theory, and popular music. He 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 (forthcoming). Benitez presented a lecture on the music of Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello at the International Conference on Analyzing Popular Music (PopMAC), 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) 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 Gen Ed course on the Fab Four’s music (MUSIC 109: The Music of the Beatles) that he wrote for Penn State 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.
A biography and bibliography of the life and works of the French composer.
Routledge Publishing, 2007
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.
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.