Vineet Shende's work has been called "impeccably written [music], at once ferocious and mystical" (Portland Press Herald). It often deals with conceptual issues of timbral development, structural order, and the Japanese aesthetic concept of ma ("active" space and time). Shende's music incorporates a wide variety of styles, including the modal and rhythmic world of North Indian classical music, the visceral energy of rock music, and a harmonic language described as "hard to characterize, dissonant in some places and with celestial harmonies in others, but unusually accessible"(Maine Sunday Telegram). His music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, and has brought him recognition in the form of awards, fellowships, and grants from such organizations as ASCAP and the Mellon Foundation. Recent premieres have included Vertical Tintal for violin and piano, commissioned by the Maine Music Educator’s Association, and Three Longfellow Poems for soprano soloist, two choirs and orchestra, commissioned by the Portland Symphony Orchestra.

Ensembles such as the American Modern Ensemble, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Cassatt String Quartet, the Aeolian Chamber Players, and the National Symphony Orchestra have all recently performed Shende’s music. Recent recordings (on the New Focus label) include the "vigorous and sassy" (Gramophone Magazine) Throw Down or Shut Up! on Flexible Music's debut album FM, and the "particularly outstanding" (American Record Guide) Sonetos de amor performed by soprano Elizabeth Weigle and guitarist Daniel Lippel on Lippel’s album Sustenence.

Shende's formative years alternated between the cities of Chicago, Illinois and Pune, India. His earliest music lessons were from his mother, a vocalist trained in North Indian classical music. He started playing guitar at the age of eight and was soon singing and playing in rock bands (which he still does today). In college, after briefly toying with physics and economics, he became completely enamored by music composition and now holds degrees from Cornell University, Butler University, and Grinnell College. His principal composition teachers have been Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, Michael Schelle, and Jonathan Chenette. He has also studied music with sitar virtuoso Ustad Usman Khan and conducting with Stanley DeRusha and Scott Tucker.

Shende is an Associate Professor of Music at Bowdoin College, where he oversees the composition program and teaches courses in composition, electronic music, orchestration, music theory, music history, and Asian music. He is a member of ASCAP, and a charter member of Score Board, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s composer advisory organization. He lives in Brunswick, Maine with his wife, daughter, and dog in a nineteenth-century house that is constantly undergoing renovation.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | May 27, 2011

News and Press

[Concert Review] BMOP on Indian Inspired Music

Indian music in the classical world seems somehow out of place. With some exceptions, notably Philip Glass’s opera Satyagraha or John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs, and after Ravi Shankar and George Harrison, the advent of Bollywood and — most recently — the huge success of Slumdog Millionaire (Jai Ho seems to be on infinite repeat at almost every wedding I’ve been to, Indian and non-), India seems to have pervaded pop culture more than anything else. So the Boston Modern Orchestra Project concert at NEC’s Jordan Hall on the evening of May 27 raised intrigue.

Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP channels India in season-ending show

"Sangita: The Spirit of India’’ was the title of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s season-ending concert Friday night at Jordan Hall. And the program was as dense as the hot, humid, subcontinent-like weather outside, with world premieres by three New England-based composers and a North American premiere by early-20th-century English composer John Foulds.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] Boston Modern Orchestra Project: Ziporyn, Foulds, Child, Shende

I had been looking forward to this concert ever since I saw an earlier misprint last September claiming Sangita would be performed in November. The BMOP site finally posted the right date. Ever since I heard the Modern Jazz Quartet's “Music From the Third Stream” album, I've always held my breath, anticipating the performance of the next composition embracing cultural or aesthetic fusion. Would I be treated to a work of great beauty, depth and complexity, or assaulted by a failed attempt that crashed on the shoals, maybe near something deep, but drowning nonetheless?

Fine Arts Full review
[News Coverage] Projecting the 'Spirit of India'
Tonight’s concert “Sangita: The Spirit of India’’ marks the end of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s season, and it’s been a busier one than usual. Until fairly recently, BMOP’s season consisted of a sequence of Jordan Hall concerts. Now that series is merely one part of a flood of activity that includes a series of chamber concerts at clubs, opera productions, and, this season, concerts at Tufts University and Wellesley and Bowdoin colleges.
The Boston Globe Full review
[News Coverage] BMOP ensemble to premiere contemporary compositions

Tonight, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will be performing its second program of a three-part series at the College.

BMOP, directed by Gil Rose, plays a diverse repertoire of contemporary music. This particular program, entitled “Monsters of Modernism” is comprised of pieces from the latter half of the 20th century.

“When we think about concert music, we have this image of powdered wigs and classical composers [such as] Beethoven and Mozart,” said Associate Professor of Music Vineet Shende. “This program offers a completely different side to that common notion.”

The Bowdoin Orient Full review
[Concert Review] Thoroughly modern opening for new Bowdoin recital hall

I wish that all the people who claim to hate “modern” music had been able to attend Saturday’s concert of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at Bowdoin College’s new Studzinsky Recital Hall.

Works composed in the 21st century range from Renaissance harmonies through Romantic lyricism to the craggiest of dissonance. The writing varied in quality, but the program transfixed the large audience and held its interest throughout, appealing to the intellect and the emotions.

Portland Press Herald Full review