The College of Arts and Architecture

Vincent P. Benitez

Dr. Vincent P. Benitez

Congratulations to Dr. Vincent Benitez on the July 2019 release of his latest book, Olivier Messiaen’s Opera, Saint Francois d’Assise.  The book is published by Indiana University Press.

From the publisher’s website, his work “examines the opera from both theological and musical-analytical perspectives to ask how Messiaen expresses his Catholic theology through his work.  Benitez combines a close reading of the opera score with accounts from Messiaen’s associates, studies of Messiaen’s birdsong notebooks and other primary documents, and an examination of the religious, musical, poetic, and visual arts literature with which the composer was familiar to explore how the opera’s harmonic language and sound-color relationships motivate its musical meaning and expression.  Through his analysis of these diverse sources and comparisons of Saint Francois d’Assise with other works such as Berg’s Wozzeck and Wagner’s Parsifal, Benitez places Messiaen’s compositional practice within larger musical perspectives and historical contexts.

Dr. Benitez is Professor of Music Theory here at Penn State, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music theory and analysis.  As a theorist, he 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 Messiaen. 

His book is available through Indiana University Press: Messiaen’s Opera: Saint Francois d’Assise