Photo (above) and cover page photo by Rose Lincoln, Harvard Gazette, 2018.
Vaibhav Mohanty (b. 1998) is a composer and arranger from Charleston, South Carolina currently based in Boston, Massachusetts. His compositions span classical, world, and jazz domains and are performed across the United States and internationally.
Vaibhav’s compositions have been awarded and acclaimed at the national and international level. His composition Rhapsody No. 1 for alto saxophone and piano, recorded with Jake Tilton, was selected for inclusion on Volume 32 of the Society of Composers, Inc. CD Series. Vaibhav is the youngest composer selected from an international pool of applicants for this CD, which has been released by Navona Records and is distributed internationally by Naxos. Recent awards include second place in The American Prize for Concert Band Composition (competing against composers of all ages) and the Grand Prize from the 3rd Annual Sul Ross State University Wind Ensemble Composition Competition, an international competition. He is a winner of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Student Composers Competition, which merited his composition Altitude a performance at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee by the NAfME All-National Honor Band. He was also named a Finalist in the 2015 National YoungArts Foundation competition, an award that was given to 170 artists out of over 11,000 entries from various disciplines. Vaibhav has been a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) since 2013 and the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI) since 2014, and his works have been published by JPM Music Publications (Missouri), Lighthouse Music Publications (Ontario, Canada), Radnofsky-Couper Editions (Massachusetts), and C.L. Barnhouse Publications (Iowa).
A student of piano performance from the age of four, he began composing at age nine when he wrote his first piece for solo piano in memory of a late elementary school teacher. Vaibhav later began composing works for concert band as well as chamber ensembles. He appeared in concert as guest conductor for the premiere of his first symphonic work when he was twelve years old. Throughout and after high school, Vaibhav taught music at the Charleston County School District summer SMAART program and music theory at a private music studio in Charleston.
In 2022, Vaibhav received his first PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a 2019 Marshall Scholar. He submitted his dissertation, titled Robustness of Evolutionary and Glassy Systems, in less than 2 years, at the age of 22. In 2019, at 20, Vaibhav received a master's degree in Chemistry (Theory) and a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in Chemistry and Physics and a minor in Music from Harvard University. While at Harvard, he was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society as part of Harvard's Junior 24, received a 2018 Barry Goldwater Scholarship for his academic research in physics, and was also Co-President of the Harvard Composers Association for three years. Vaibhav is now in the Harvard Medical School/MIT MD-PhD program pursuing physician-scientist training, with his MD from the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology and his second PhD in Chemistry from Harvard.
Vaibhav's academic research has spanned a number of interdisciplinary topics, including diffusion MRI physics, quantum mechanics of electrons in graphene, statistical physics and the information theory of input-output maps, as well as mathematical/geometrical models of voice leading in music theory. Click here to learn more about Vaibhav's music theory research.