BMus in Performance, London University

MM in Performance, Yale University

MA and PhD in Musicology, Harvard University


Andrew Shenton is a scholar, prize-winning author, performer, educator, consultant, and administrator based in Boston, Massachusetts. 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. After graduating he was appointed Director of Music at St. Matthew’s Church in Northampton and Lecturer in the Humanities at Leicester University. Dr. 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 Yale ISM he prepared for a career in 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 his doctoral dissertation, which is a musico-linguistic study of the twentieth-century French mystic composer Olivier Messiaen.

Dr. 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; and Washington National Cathedral. He has toured extensively in Europe and the US as a conductor, recitalist, and clinician, and his three solo organ recordings have received international acclaim. Dr. Shenton maintains an active performance career because he believes it is important that any scholarly engagement with the arts is not divorced from its creation and performance. He has pioneered contemporary music in a variety of styles and has given more than eighty world or US premieres by composers such as Geoffrey Burgon, Joe Utterback, John Tavener, Judith Weir, and Arvo Pärt.

In addition to diplomas in both piano and organ Dr. Shenton holds the Choir Training diploma of the Royal College of Organists.  He has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including a Harvard Merit Fellowship, Harvard’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, and a Junior Fellowship from the Humanities Center at Boston University.

Moving freely between musicology and ethnomusicology Shenton’s work is best subsumed under the heading ‘music and transcendence.’ This is demonstrated, for example, by his recent and ongoing work in popular music, which includes an essay that analyses the acoustic ecology of rave music as a way of negotiating an ecstatic experience (Fordham University Press, 2015), and lectures and writing on how hip-hop has become a complex soundscape that signals religious identity, notably for Christians and Muslims. A subsidiary to this work is his interest in how sound studies deal with issues of cognition, and the physical and mental elements of transformation and transcendence. His ground-breaking work on Olivier Messiaen includes a monograph Olivier Messiaen’s System of Signs (Ashgate, 2008), which won the 2010 Miller Book Award; and a collection of essays which he edited entitled Messiaen the Theologian (Ashgate, 2010). More recently, his work on Arvo Pärt includes several lectures and recitals, and publications such as The Cambridge Companion to Arvo Pärt (CUP, 2012), which he edited, and a monograph Arvo Pärt’s Resonant Texts: Choral and Organ Music 1956-2015 (CUP, 2018).

Dr. Shenton is interested in the process and practice of higher education in the twenty-first century. He engages with broad issues of pedagogy, especially those to do with technological advance, including blended and online education. He is engaged in pioneering work in ePublishing, and with strategies for  student recruitment and retention, and is especially concerned with the role of the Arts in the contemporary curriculum and the particular opportunities this provides for students interested in careers in the Arts and related fields. Dr. Shenton also works as a researcher and consultant in a number of fields, including arts administration and business.

He works artistically and administratively as conductor of the professional chamber choir Vox Futura. At Boston University Dr. Shenton has a broad portfolio or responsibilities. He holds appointments in the School of Theology, School of Music (College of Fine Arts) and College of Arts and Sciences (musicology faculty). He is a tenured Professor of Music, the James R. Houghton Scholar of Sacred Music, Director of the Sacred Music program, Director of the Boston University Messiaen Project [BUMP], and Director of the Theology and Arts Initiative [TAI].

Further details of Dr. Shenton’s academic work can be found here.

Two versions of Dr. Shenton’s biography intended for publication are available for download on the Press page of this site.