Andrew Shenton

Associate Professor of Music, James R. Houghton Scholar of Sacred Music

  • Title Associate Professor of Music, James R. Houghton Scholar of Sacred Music
  • Phone (617) 353-3057
  • Education B.M. London University
    M.M. Yale University
    A.M. Harvard University
    Ph.D. Harvard University

Andrew Shenton was born in England. His first professional music training was at The Royal College of Music in London, where he studied under a scholarship from The Royal College of Organists. While at the RCM he read for a BMus degree at London University and was an organ scholar at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Professor Shenton moved to the US to study for a Master’s degree at the Institute for Sacred Music, Worship and the Arts at Yale University and then for a PhD in musicology at Harvard University. As a student at the ISM, he prepared for a ministry involved with the arts (with music as a primary focus), as he is interested in all aspects of spirituality and the arts. This is reflected in his Master’s thesis, which concerns the renaissance of sacred art in post-war Britain, and in his doctoral dissertation, which is a musico-linguistic study of the twentieth-century French mystic composer Olivier Messiaen.

Professor Shenton has a Master’s degree in organ performance from Yale, and holds the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists. He has given recitals in such venues as King’s College, Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue (New York debut), and Washington National Cathedral. He has toured extensively in Europe and the US as a conductor, recitalist and clinician, and his two solo organ recordings have received international acclaim. In addition to diplomas in both piano and organ, Professor Shenton holds the Choir Training diploma of the Royal College of Organists. He is the Artistic Director of The Boston Choral Ensemble [insert link to:], one of the areas leading choral groups.

Professor Shenton has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including a Harvard Merit Fellowship, Harvard’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, a Yale AlumniVentures Award and a Junior Research Fellowship from the BU Humanities Foundation. In 2012/13 he will be a Religion Fellow as part of a venture sponsored by The Boston University School of Theology and the Institute on Religion, Culture & World Affairs (CURA). Throughout his studies he has been particularly concerned with issues of historically informed performance practice. In addition, he has made an extensive study of voice production and vocal technique, and frequently acts as a repetiteur, coach and accompanist for singers. He has pioneered contemporary music in a variety of styles and has given more than fifty premieres by composers such as Geoffrey Burgon, Joe Utterback, John Tavener and Judith Weir.

Professor Shenton’s first monograph Olivier Messiaen’s System of Signs: Notes Towards Understanding His Music (Ashgate, 2008) has received critical and popular acclaim and was awarded the Miller Book Award. Professor Shenton has also written numerous articles, including most recently essays for collections on Messiaen published by both Ashgate and Cambridge University Press. He is editor of the collection Messiaen the Theologian (Ashgate, 2010) and The Cambridge Companion to Arvo Pärt (CUP, 2012). His research interests include Messiaen, Pärt, jazz, the church and the arts, music and language, music and spirituality, performance practice, music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and music of the world’s religions.

At Boston University Professor Shenton directs the Master of Sacred Music program and the Boston University Messiaen Project [BUMP]. In addition to his position at the School of Theology, Professor Shenton also serves on the faculties of the School of Music (CFA) and CAS/GRS.

Teaching and research interests include:sacred music, organ performance, religion and the arts, contemporary spirituality and the arts, music and world religions, twentieth-century French mystic composer Olivier Messiaen, and the contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt

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