Vince Mendoza

Adjunct Professor

  • Program:
    Jazz Studies
  • Division:
    Contemporary Music
  • Expertise:


Vince Mendoza has been at the forefront of the jazz and contemporary music scene as a composer, conductor and recording artist for the last 20 years. According to All about Jazz, Mendoza “daringly expands the vernacular by including elements of abstract impressionism, romanticism and a highly unorthodox palette to position him as the clear and natural successor to the late Gil Evans.” He has written scores of compositions and arrangements for big band, extended compositions for chamber and symphonic settings while his jazz composing credits read like a who’s who of the best modern instrumentalists and singers in the world today.

Mendoza was recognized as “Best Composer/Arranger” by Swing Journal’s critics poll in Japan. His CD Epiphany features his compositions played by the London Symphony Orchestra. El Viento and Jazzpaña further pushed the boundaries of jazz and flamenco music. His new album, Nights on Earth, features Mendoza compositions arranged for small and large ensembles, with guest appearances by Luciana Souza, Malian vocalist Tom Diakite, and musicians from Spain, Africa, and Brazil.

Mendoza’s arranging has appeared on many critically acclaimed projects that include dozens of albums with song writing legends such as Stevie Wonder, Björk, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin, Melody Gardot, Sting and Joni Mitchell. He has 6 GRAMMY awards and 25 nominations.

Mendoza is the Conductor Laureate and artistic advisor of the Netherlands Metropole Orkest. He appears frequently as a guest conductor with orchestras throughout Europe, the U.S., Japan, Scandinavia, and the U.K.

Mendoza has also written commissioned compositions and arrangements for the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Metropole Orkest, the Berlin Philharmonic, West Deutsche Rundfunk and the BBC. His music was featured at the Berlin Jazz Festival. He has performed at the Montreux, Monterey, and North Sea Jazz Festivals.


Professional experience

Career Highlights:

  • Eight critically acclaimed solo albums
  • Arranger for Joni Mitchell, Sting, Björk, Elvis Costello, Herbie Hancock, Counting Crows
  • Actively conducts concerts of his music in Europe, Japan, Scandinavia and the UK

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • 6 GRAMMY awards and 25 nominations
  • Emmy nomination
  • Swing Journal “Best Composer/Arranger”
  • Edison jazz Award Nomination
  • Jazziz magazine “Top Picks”

Music Festivals:

  • Faculty and resident artist, Henry Mancini Institute
  • Participant, Berlin Jazz festival
  • Participant, Northsea Jazz Festival
  • Participant, Montreux Jazz Festival


  • Vince Mendoza: NIghts on Earth (HORIZONTAL)
  • Björk: Vespertine (Universal)
  • Joni Mitchell: Travelogue (Nonesuch)
  • Elvis Costello: Live at the Northsea (Deutsche Grammophon)


  • Jung Parade, 2010 (for John Scofield and the Metropole Orkest)
  • Bluesounds, 2009 (for the Traumzeit Festival, Duisburg)
  • Solstice Poem, 2004 (for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet)
  • Esperanto, 2003 (for Kurt Elling)
  • Scriabin, 1991 (for Michael Brecker)

Academic degrees

  • MM, University of Southern California, 1985
  • BM, Ohio State University, 1983