Music at WPI

WPI students playing flute

Music is wonderful for many reasons—it’s eclectic, it offers chances to collaborate and form communities, it allows us to express emotion to others and for them to empathize with what we’re saying. At the same time, music can mean different things to different people. It comes in diverse forms, even when those making it use the same tools, inspirations, and rules (or lack thereof).

The opportunities are endless, just like they are at WPI.

We know music may not be the first thing you think of when you start looking into a STEM school, but it’s just as prevalent here as, well, STEM itself. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or have a passing interest in music and performance, you’ll have the opportunity to explore your passion for music in whatever form that may take:

And this is just the beginning—after all, what’s a great song without an even better hook? Check out the resources below to see how you can make music come to life at WPI. 

Phone: 508-831-5246
Fax: 508-831-5932

Dive into the Back Catalog

Looking for even more on what it’s like to be a music student at WPI? There’s no better way to learn than by exploring the opportunities available to current students. Visit the Music @ WPI website, curated by members of WPI’s music faculty, for more information on performance opportunities and student groups, research labs, courses, music-oriented jobs on campus, and more.

The 2021 WPI Concert Band's Virtual Exhibition, APART, is an engaging and creative presentation including aerial drone footage of the campus during the last piece. Performance order: Percy Grainger's "Shepherd's Hey", David Biedenbender's "Melodious Thunk" and Rossano Galante's "Journey Through the Stratosphere."

Music by the Numbers

Blending music and STEM is nothing new at WPI, which is why we’ve created an at-a-glance look at different musical extracurriculars offered on campus

  • 9 symphonic ensembles and quintets 
  • 9 choir and a cappella groups 
  • 3 jazz groups 
  • 2 orchestras 
  • 2 drumming and percussion groups 
  • 1 musical theatre group 
  • 1 student rock association 
  • 1 radio station 

Music News

Making the World a Better Place Through Music

After five years of putting her Christian faith into action through humanitarian work in Cambodia and Myanmar, award-winning musician Abigail Koo has joined the WPI Orchestra as its newest conductor, and is ready to work with students to connect music to other parts of life, explaining, "At WPI, I envision a place where students can connect with world-class musicians and get conservatory-level training."

The WPI Pep Band marches down Main Street in Manchester, Vermont, wearing their black, red, and white uniforms and playing a variety of instruments.

Good Friends, Good Music, Good Memories

WPI’s Pep Band makes regular appearances at sporting events and other special occasions both on and off campus, but one of the most unexpected came when they were tapped to perform in the opening ceremony of The Bachelor franchise’s new spinoff series, Bachelor Winter Games. They’d be the only band performing on the show that would be seen by millions of people around the world. So, y’know, no pressure.

DIY Music Technology

The Electric Guitar Innovation Lab was founded nearly four years ago by music professor V.J. Manzo as an informal space to experiment with new ways of evolving the guitar. In both 2020 and 2021, it received funding from the Les Paul Foundation for its work on projects that address the needs of performers, instrument makers, and others who work with guitars or guitar innovation.

Robotic Music to Our Ears

Associate professor of music Scott Barton worked with his students to produce a first-of-its-kind concert pairing human musicians with artificially intelligent musical robots at nearby Mechanics Hall. Called Sound Fusion, the concert ranged from Bach to rock, and was an event that Barton hoped would allow people to “experience musical pieces they have known in a whole new kind of light.”

Open-Ended Art, Serendipitous Results

After five years of research, associate professor of Interactive Media and Game Development and Humanities & Arts Joshua Rosenstock unveiled the Fermentophone—an edible musical instrument—at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in February of 2020. Read more about his research and how, in his words, “Different foods provide different grooves.”

Meet the Music Faculty

V J Manzo
V J Manzo

V.J. Manzo (Ph.D. Temple University, M.M. New York University) is Associate Professor of Music at WPI. He is a composer and guitarist with research interests in theory and composition, artificial intelligence, interactive music systems, and music cognition. V.J. is author of several books published by Oxford University Press including Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Foundations of Music Technology, and co-author of Interactive Composition and Environmental Sound Artists.

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Scott D Barton
Scott D Barton

I compose, perform, record, mix and produce electroacoustic music; I am interested in how we can use the tools and techniques of audio production to explore new musical territory. I build mechatronic and robotic musical instruments; I am interested in how we can free electronic music from the world of speakers through computer-controlled automatic mechanical instruments. I conduct research and experiments that explore how our cognitive and perceptual processes affect our musical experience; I am interested in how we can use such research to guide our compositional and analytic activities.

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Frederick W. Bianchi
Frederick W. Bianchi

Professor Frederick Bianchi works in the area of music technology. As the director of music technology research, Bianchi works with students from all disciplines. His particular focus is Virtual Orchestra technology, multichannel sound design, and neuroscience research. In addition to overseeing the Media Arts Group Innovation Center (MAGIC), Professor Bianchi is also the director of the Bar Harbor, Maine Project Center and the Glacier National Park Project Center.

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Joshua Wold Rohde
Joshua Wold Rohde

Dr. Joshua W. Rohde is the Director of Choral Activities at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he conducts all four of the university’s choral ensembles – Men’s Glee Club, Women’s Alden Voices, Festival Chorus, and the Chamber Choir. He is also the Music Director of both the Rhode Island Civic Chorale & Orchestra and the Quincy Choral Society, and performs as an active professional cellist throughout the Boston area.

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