BIOGRAPHY         •          ARTIST STATEMENT          •          CURRICULUM VITAE


The music of Vincent Calianno (b. 1979, Buffalo, NY) is inspired by the renegade eloquence and radical temperament of the American vernacular.  His works often combine a unique confluence of disparate musical colors, muscular rhythms and complex, virtuosic textures. Calianno's diverse musical corpus includes opera, musicals, large and small ensemble works, electro-acoustica and music for film.

Calianno’s chamber music has been presented across the globe by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, the JACK Quartet, Ensemble Mise-En, the Nouveau Classical Project, Ensemble 39, Tactus, Ossia, Artifact and The New York Miniaturist Ensemble.  His orchestral music has been performed by the NYU Symphony, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra.

Recent commissions include new works for the International Contemporary Ensemble (Notes on The Deliverance Machine) scored for cello trio and electronics, and a new work for ensemble and video for Ensemble Mise-En (How I Fell In Love with W)—an encomium on George W. Bush. Other recent projects include Sororatorio—a setting of the rather infamous 2013 ‘deranged sorority girl’ email/meme. Also in 2016, his orchestra piece The Facts and Dreams of the World According to Michael Jackson was selected as the winner of the 2016 ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize.

In 2017, Calianno looks forward to a new commission (The History of the String Quartet in its Natural Habitat) for string quartet, electronics and video for the San Francisco based Thalea Quartet to be premiered later in the year in New York. Currently, he is working on a new trombone quartet (Down and Out in the Days of Low t) for The Guidonian Hand Ensemble.

In addition to concert music, Calianno is an active composer for short and feature length films, commercials and multimedia projects.  His interest in silent cinema has led him to compose scores for both classic and recent silent films. His score for Carl Dreyer’s 1927 film La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc for viola and electronics has been performed live with the film throughout the U.S. and Canada including a portrait concert in 2009 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York.

Calianno holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Illinois and New York University. His principal teachers have included John Luther Adams, Lewis Nielson, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Zack Browning, Mark Suozzo and Livingston Gearhart. He is currently on the composition faculty at Hofstra University.

More Information is available at

[current as of October 2016]

Artist Statement

I believe in actually creating new music, not lumping together an array of extended techniques and passé effects and calling it new music;  

I believe in creating art that experiments and investigates with acumen and with naïveté; in creating art that, above all things, aspires to transcend and illuminate – art where the spirit works with the hand, not against it;

In creating music that is free from the elitist, inaccessible, self-absorbed and self-righteous attitude of certain sects of American new music composers and their parasites, whose crabby, cliché-ridden, irrelevant and solipsistic music touches no hearts and inspires no souls.

I believe that my music should find an aesthetic that balances my conservatory upbringings with my American ‘maverick’ sensibilities;

I believe in creating art that is at once rich with musical metaphor and allusion but also accesses fresh and truly current trends in the visual and all other aural arts; 

In creating art that is vernacular, polystylistic, self-referential and ironic which can be accessible to the listener and performer without feeling that the music is plastic or an iconic bastard;

In creating art that has a luminous, attractive and comprehensible surface but also has a stable, rich and compositional core;

Curriculum Vitæ

       MASTER OF ARTS in Composition, 2006 
       Eastman School of Music. Rochester, New York

       M.A. Thesis:
       • The Path to Resonance: Heterophonic Diffusion in         
       Boulez’s Memoriale and  Ligeti’s Requiem 

       BACHELOR OF MUSIC in Composition, 2002
       Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Oberlin, Ohio


      DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS in Composition-Theory, 2012 
      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Urbana, Illinois

      A. Mus. D. Thesis:
      • Generating Resonance and Illusions of Polyphony Using       
      Methods of Heterophonic Diffusion

      MASTER OF MUSIC in Film Scoring and Multimedia, 2015
      New York University. New York, New York


  • Graduate Fellowship, Department of Music, 
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007—08
  • Howard Hanson Prize, Eastman School of Music, 2004
  • Paul Sacher Award, Eastman School of Music, 2003-06
  • Oberlin Honors Recital, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, 2002
  • Participant, Midwest Composers Symposium, 2000, 01
  • Dean’s Talent Award, Oberlin Conservatory, 1997-2002
  • First Prize, Oberlin Composition Award, 1997
  • First Prize, NGSCA Herbert Zipper Award, 1997
  • Alan Menken Scholar, New York University, 2014-15
  • Honorable Mention, American Composers Forum’s
    National Composition Contest, 2015
  • Society of Composers and Lyricists Mentee, 2014
  • Honorable Mention, Minnesota Orchestra
    Composer Institute, 2011
  • UIUC Orchestra Commission,
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010


  • Lewis Nielson, 1999-2002
  • John Luther Adams, 1998-99
  • Randolph Coleman, 1997-98
  • Livingston Gearhart, 1993-96 
  • Mark Suozzo, 2013-2015 
  • Zack Browning, 2007-09
  • Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, 2003-05
  • David Liptak, 2002-03
  • Richard Hoffman, 2002



    MASTERCLASSES, et cetera

  • "Rebel Without a CauseAn Examination of Dissonance in the Time of Consonance", Music & the Moving Image, New York, 2015
  • “The Light Elusive” on my compositional style and my work, Mt. Holyoke College, 2012
  • les étoiles secrètes, Midwest Graduate Music Consortium, Northwestern University, 2012
  • “On the future of American Music” a look at current trends in the new music scene, University of Illinois, 2011
  • “The Path to Resonance” Creating resonance through heterophonic diffusion, University of Illinois, 2011
  • “Gradus ad Urbanensis” on my compositional style and eating filumena lionheart, University of Illinois, 2009
  • Meredith Monk, Toby Twining, 2010
  • Steven Stucky, 2009
  • David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Helmut Lachenmann, 2008
  • Charles Wuorinen, 2005
  • Krzysztof Penderecki, James Dillon, 2004
  • Bernard Rands, Martin Bresnick, 2003
  • John Adams, Richard Hoffmann, 2002
  • Ingram Marshall, David Rakowski, 2001
  • James Tenney, Kevin Volans, 2000
  • Pauline Oliveros, Peter Garland, 1999
  • Brian Ferneyhough, Tan Dun, 1998
  • David Felder, Warren Benson, 1997




  • Composer-in-Residence, Artifact Dance Project. Tuscon,AZ, 2009—2010
  • Artist in Residence, The Banff Centre. Banff, AB, 2003
  • Roundtable Composer, International Contemporary Ensemble. Chicago,IL and NewYork,NY, 2001—03


      September 2009 - June 2012

  • Guided students in private lessons through the process of composing their music.


      Buffalo Music School, Buffalo New York

      March - August 2005

  • Taught basic and intermediate piano instruction.
  • Organized recitals and performances for my students.


      Eastman School of Music

  • Taught lectures and demonstrations on electronic and computer music production and software along with demonstrations of recording and engineering techniques.
  • Maintained lab computers and audio equipment.
  • Organized and recorded samples for the Eastman Computer Music Center database including instrumental and vocals.




      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

      January 2010 - May 2011

  • Designed course materials, including syllabus, exams and instructional methods.
  • Taught classroom lectures on sight-singing, dictation and other ear-training skills.
  • Evaluated students one-on-one on their progress throughout the semester.


      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
      August - December 2010

  • Contributed to course materials, including exams and instructional methods.
  • Taught classroom lectures on sight-singing, dictation and other ear-training skills.
  • Led discussions on form, analysis and harmony. 


      THEORY IV INSTRUCTOR (Graduate Teaching Assistant) -                 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
      August - December 2009

  • Taught and assisted large sized classroom lectures as well as review and listening sessions.
  • Designed course materials, including review materials, handouts and exams.
  • Evaluated students on their progress throughout the semester.



  • Concert Series Director, The Sound Exchange Project with National Taiwan Normal University (2011), Huddersfield University (2010)
  • Concert Producer, Composition Department Concerts, Urbana, IL, 2007-present
  • Freelance Music Engraver, Videographer and Graphic Designer, 2002 - present
  • Preliminary Judge, 14th and 15th Annual Salvatore Martirano Awards, 2010-11
  • Music Curator, Here-Here Gallery, Rochester, NY, 2003 - 06
  • Concert Producer, Ossia New Music, Rochester, NY, 2003 - 04
  • Board of Directors, Audio Engineer, Classical/Freeform DJ, WOBC-FM, 1997 - 2002
  • Concert Producer, New Student Works, Oberlin, OH, 1998 - 2002 
  • Founder, Music Director, Conductor and Performer for The Sons of Berio, Ensemble Rocket:X, 1998 - present
  • Freelance Performer: Piano, Violoncello, Contrabass, Percussion, Accordion and Theremin, 2001 - present
  • Guest conductor, UIUC New Music Ensemble, 2009
  • Stage Director, Musical Director, Choreographer and Set Design for The Toilet and Beckett, 2000, 2004
  • Guest conductor, Cellist and Board Member, Ossia New Music, 2003 - 2004 





  • Society of Composers and Lyricists, 2014—present
  • American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, 2007—present
  • American Composers Forum, 2005—present 
  • A Collection of Miniatures for Solo Violin, Myne Press, 2006