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Thornton Alumni Association

Alumni Accomplishments

The USC Thornton School of Music is proud to share the accomplishments of our outstanding alumni. These achievements represent only a small sampling of the many accomplishments of our alumni across the world.

The list below includes those accomplishments submitted since Fall 2013. To submit your own alumni accomplishment, please email


Benjamin Adler MM ’14, Clarinet
Benjamin was one of three winners in the National Repertory Orchestra’s general concerto competition.

Julia Adolphe MM ’12, DMA candidate, Composition
Julia received the opportunity for the New York Philharmonic to perform one of her pieces, Dark Sand, Sifting Light, in concert. Dark Sand, Sifting Light was inspired by Julia’s experiences living in a city. Visit Julia’s website here.

Argus Quartet
The Argus Quartet — which consists of Thornton alumni Jason Issokson MM ’11, violin, Diana Wade GCRT ’13, viola, and current DMA violin student Clara Kim — was awarded a commission by Chamber Music America, a national network for ensemble musicians. For the commission, the quartet enlisted the work of fellow alumnus Eric Guinivan MM ’08, DMA ’11, composition.

Troy Armstrong ’13, Composition
Troy recently won the Marilyn K. Glick Young Composers Competition at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for his piece, Supercell.  Part of his reward includes subscription performances in April 2014 with ISO.  Armstrong is the third Thornton student in four years to win the competition.

Alison Balbag ’06, MM ’07, DMA ’10, Harp
Alison was recently invited to lecture at the Stockholm Brain Institute and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Alison spoke on her research of how playing an instrument protects against developing dementia later in life. She was also interviewed by National Geographic about how music may have a profound and lasting impact on the brain. Read the full article here.

Samuel Barbara DMA ’13, Choral Music
Samuel has been appointed Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA.

Charissa Barger MM ’13, Harp
Charissa released her debut album, Dreams of Love: Music for Solo Harp on August 1. The debut release concert will be held on August 24 at St. Luke’s Garden Concerts at Rolling Hills Estates, California. Visit Charissa’s website here.

Christopher Bartz DMA ’13, Saxophone
Christopher accepted a position at the Thornton School as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Saxophone, effective Fall 2014. Read Christopher’s bio here.

Kate Belshé MM ’13, Choral Music
Kate was appointed conductor of the Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir in Israel. Visit Kate’s website here.

Jongnic Bontemps GCRT ’12, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Jongnic worked with Marco Beltrami GCRT ’93, scoring for motion pictures and television, to provide additional original music for the theatrical remake of Carrie.  Additionally, Jongnic was one of the six fellows chosen for the 2013 Sundance Music and Sound Design Lab at SkyWalker Ranch.

Ben Bram ’10, Music Industry and Scott Hoying, Popular Music
Ben and Scott received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for their work with Pentatonix. The a cappella group, which formed in 2011 and came to prominence by winning the third season of NBC’s The Sing-Off, has been nominated for “Daft Punk,” a fresh, comprehensive track from their album, PTX, Vol. 2.

Lauren Buckley MM ’08, DMA ’12, Choral Music
Lauren has been named Interim Director of the University of California Irvine Chamber Singers. Lauren is the new Classic Worship Director of the Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church.

Christian Campos MM ’07, DMA candidate, Choral Music
Christian will conduct the Horizon Chamber Players on April 4 in secular cantatas by J.S. Bach, including the popular “Coffee Cantata.” Joining the ensemble are fellow Thornton alumni soprano Diana Newman ’12, MM ’14, vocal arts, soprano Amelia Tobiason, ’14, vocal arts, tenor Jon Lee Keenan MM ’09, DMA ’13, vocal arts, and world-renowned baritone and Thornton faculty member Rod Gilfry MM ’83, vocal arts. The ensemble also features a number of USC students and graduates, including concertmaster Moni Simeonov, GCRT ’09, DMA candidate, violin, and principal flutist Diana Morgan GCRT ’09, flute. For tickets and more information, click here.

Jack Cimo ’11, Classical Guitar
Jack and the Los Angeles Duo finish their 2 1/2 week cross-country tour called “Licks on Route 66” on Friday, August 8 at 8:00 pm at Gallery 1548 in Downtown Los Angeles. Follow Jack’s adventures on his website.

Rozzi Crane, Popular Music
Popular Music alumna Rozzi Crane recently completed a tour across the US with musician Gavin DeGraw.

William Cravy ’14, Double Bass
William was selected as a performing apprentice for the Canadian National Arts Centre Orchestra (NAC) as part of the orchestra’s Institute for Orchestral Studies.

Robert Curl ’12, Bassoon, Paul Curtis ’08, MM ’10, Bassoon, and Dana Jackson ’09, Bassoon
The USC Thornton Alumni Bassoon Quartet—Thornton faculty Judith Farmer, Robert Curl, Paul Curtis, and Dana Jackson—performed at the 2013 International Double Reed Society Conference a piece by Gernot Wolfgang GCRT ’94, scoring for motion pictures and television, titled Dance of the Polar Bears.

A. Phoenix Delgado ’02, MM ’04, DMA ’13, Flute and Conducting
Dr. A. Phoenix Delgado conducts the New Valley Symphony Orchestra during its Opening Gala Concert with guest artist mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzman on November 1, 2014. The concert will feature a selection of beloved opera favorites and is free and open to the general public. Last season’s program included a summer pops concert titled, “Mancini Tribute & Composers of Our Time,” featuring the music of Henry Mancini, Erich Bulling and Leonard Bernstein. The concert took place at the Hall of Liberty in Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills on Sunday, June 22, 2014. Additionally, Dr. Delgado conducted the New Valley Symphony Orchestra in a concert titled, “New Valley Explores the New World.” Highlighting the program will be Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, popularly known as the “New World Symphony.” The concert took place at the Hall of Liberty in Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills on Sunday, March 9, 2014.

Margarita Denenburg DMA ’12, Piano
Margarita was invited to judge the Carmel Debut International Piano Competition. She also held a tour for the 100-year celebration of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with her piano duo partner, Gerald Evans. The concert performed at Heidelberg University can be seen here. Dr. Denenburg is currently an Assistant Professor of Piano at Heidelberg University, OH.

Grant Fonda GCRT ’13, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Grant was one of the 12 internationally selected applicants to participate in the ASCAP TV & Film Scoring Workshop with Richard Bellis. He also composed the score for the film “My Dear Americans,” which won first place in the 2014 PBS Online Film Festival. Grant worked as a copyist and orchestrator for the upcoming “Titanic LIVE” premiering at Royal Albert Hall in London, Spring 2015. He received two commissions for concert works premiering in the Greater Los Angeles area on December 2014 and was requested by the University of Missouri-Columbia to have his award-winning Redemption Rising for percussion ensemble played at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic as a featured piece on the program by the University of Missouri-Columbia Percussion Ensemble (directed by Dr. Julia Gaines).

Mak Grgic MM ’12, DMA candidate, Classical Guitar
Mak received praise for his newest album, Cinema Verisimo, from both The New York Times and the Independent (UK). Visit Mak’s website here.

Ana Guigui DMA ’13, Vocal Arts
Ana attended the College Music Society’s Paris Study Tour in June, auditing courses at La Sorbonne and La Cite de Musicque. Ana will be featured as a soloist with the Pasadena Pops on Wednesday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. and will also be narrating “Peter and the Wolf.” Ana will be participating in the debut 2014 L.A. Vocal Lab in Los Angeles this summer, which features Los Angeles Master Chorale Music Director and USC Thornton Board of Councilors member Grant Gershon ’85 and Thornton faculty Lisa Sylvester DMA ’94. Ana will also be teaching at the 2014 Berklee College of Music Five-Week Summer Performance Program. She has been invited to return to her adjunct voice and music professor position at Marymount California University in the fall of 2014.

Eric Guinivan MM ’08, DMA ’11, Composition, and Sarah Rimkus ’13, Composition
Eric and Sarah both received ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards for 2014. They will be recognized at the annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards at Merkin Concert Hall in New York on May 22.

Marina Harris GCRT ’13, Vocal Arts
Marina was one of the grand prize winners of the George London Foundation Vocal Competition held in New York City on February 21, 2014.

Kevin Hartnett ’13, Composition
Kevin recently composed a choral piece titled “There Is a Flower” that was premiered by Kantorei of Kansas City in December.  The ensemble, led by artistic director Chris Munce, performed the piece on two concerts in Kansas City as part of their “Meditations and Carols” Christmas program.

David Holben DMA ’11, Tuba
David held a recital titled, “Octubafest III,” on Sunday, October 12, where he performed works for tuba and cimbasso. The concert took place at St. Peter’s by the Sea Presbyterian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. David also had a recital at the Jacobs School of Music on Friday, May 23, where he performed the premiere of Push for tuba and piano, composed by Eric Guinivan MM ’08, DMA ’11, composition; a tuba trio entitled Dué Pezzi Perpetua and composed by Brian Kehlenbach DMA ’91, composition; and Sven-David Sandström’s Zephyr. All of the pieces were commissioned, edited, and published by David’s Holben Publishing.

Marissa Honda ’11, MM ’13, DMA candidate, Oboe
Marissa recently won the English Horn position with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra. Visit Marissa’s website here.

Shabnam Kalbasi MM ’12, Vocal Arts
Shabnam presented a program titled “A Recital of Song, Opera and Broadway” sponsored by the Westlake Village Music Society on August 25.

Thomas Kotcheff MM ’12, DMA candidate, Composition
Thomas received the 2014 Hermitage Prize given by the Hermitage Artist Retreat and its partner the Aspen Music Festival and School during this renowned summer event. The award is given annually to a composition student participating in the summer program at the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies with the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. Visit Thomas’ website here.

Lesley Leighton MM ’91, Vocal Arts, DMA ’12, Choral Music
Lesley joins the UCLA Department of Music as Lecturer and Director of UCLA Chorale and UCLA Chamber Singers for 2014-15.

Jason Lo MM ’12, DMA candidate, Piano
Jason was recently invited by the Cerritos High School Wind Symphony to perform the 3rd movement of the Piano Concerto by Edward Gregson at Carnegie Hall.

Andrew Lowy MM ’13, Clarinet
Andrew was recently awarded the position of second E-flat clarinet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Stig Mathisen MM ’08, DMA ’11, Studio Guitar
Stig was appointed Chair of the Guitar Program at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, CA in fall 2012.

A.J. McCaffrey DMA ’13, Composition
A.J. was named the winner of American Composers Orchestra’s (ACO) 2013 Underwood Commission and received $15,000 for his work Thank You for Waiting, which will be premiered by ACO in the 2014-2015 season.

Vincent Meklis ’14, Violin
Vincent performed in the Netherlands this past summer as part of the International Holland Music Sessions. Vincent is continuing his studies and is pursuing a Graduate Certificate under USC Thornton Distinguished Professor Midori Goto.

Derik Nelson ’10, Music Industry
Derik performed at the NFL Players Association’s Rookie Premiere on Thursday, May 29, 2014. He also completed his west coast tour of 30 high schools to raise $100,000 for arts and music education.  His team includes two other alums, Brian Hargrove ’09, music industry, jazz studies, and Jack Kovacs ’10, studio guitar performance.

Yohan Partan MM ’12, Choral Music
Yohan received Certificates of Recognition from both Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles 3rd District Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to recognize his dedication to enriching the lives of young students at the San Fernando Valley Youth Chorus.

Jules Pegram ’13, Composition
Jules is the winner of the 2013-14 Symphony in C Young Composers’ Competition.  His work NEON NIGHTS was selected from dozens of submissions and was performed by New Jersey’s Symphony in C on September 21, 2013.  According to Composer-in-Residence Daniel Dorff: “NEON NIGHTS has all the sparkle and brilliance promised by the work’s title, and all the elegance and craft of a composer who has just completed training at the University of Southern California, and now beginning graduate studies at the University of Michigan. NEON NIGHTS and Jules Pegram will join the ranks of the many successful composers and winning works honored by our Young Composers’ Competition as a stepping stone to future acclaim.”

John Piscitello GCRT ’12, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
John composed ten cues “Additional Music” for the film The Short Game, presented by Netflix and released in theaters September 2013.

Troy Quinn DMA ’14, Choral Music
Troy was named the first featured conductor in the Juneau Symphony’s 2014-15 Guest Conductor Concert Series beginning in November 2014. Visit Troy’s website here.

Kory Reid MM ’11, Choral Music
Kory has been appointed as Assistant Music Director of the GRAMMY Award-winning choral ensemble Chanticleer.

Carlos Rivera MM ’04, DMA ’10, Composition
Carlos recently scored the soundtrack for Universal Pictures’ upcoming release, A Walk Among the Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson. Carlos recently signed with agent Amos Newman at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME). Visit Carlos’ website here.

Sarah Rommel GCRT ’14, Violoncello
Sarah won third prize at The George Enescu International Cello Competition in Bucharest, Romania. Sarah also took home the Kronberg Prize from the competition and is a current Masters student studying with Ralph Kirshbaum. Visit Sarah’s website here.

John Russell DMA ’13, Choral Music
John has been appointed Conductor of the San Diego Master Chorale.

Sean Samimi MM ’10, GCRT ’11, Classical Guitar
Sean is the new Artistic Administrator for the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

Alexander Singer DMA ’12, Percussion
Alexander recently published an article titled, “The Importance and Process of Working Abroad,” in the July 2014 edition of the premier percussion-related journal, Percussive Notes. Alexander is Assistant Professor of Percussion at Soochow University in China.

Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet
Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet – which features USC Thornton alumni Andrew Boyle ’12, MM ’14, Misha Adair Bigos MM ’14, JJ Kirkpatrick MM ’14, and Gary Wicks MM ’13 – released their debut album in September 2014 via Yarlung Records. The self-titled album was recorded on campus at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute in Camilleri Hall and was praised by The Absolute Sound for its ability to be “relaxed yet focused, tradition-based yet modern, and elegant yet conveying a sure sense of swing.”

Carrie St. Louis ’12, Vocal Arts
Carrie makes her Broadway debut on April 21 as Sherrie in Rock of Ages. Carrie originated the role of Sherrie in the Las Vegas production.

Jeremy Tisser GCRT ’12, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Jeremy recently completed his latest feature film score “Actor for Hire,” featuring a jazz quartet and recorded at The Bridge Recording in Glendale, California. He served as Music Coordinator for the Television Academy’s concert “Score! – A Concert Celebrating Music Composed for Television” on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, featuring the music of Bear McCreary ’02, composition, Jeff Beal, John Lunn, Mark Snow, Ramin Djawadi, and more. Jeremy was also co-orchestrator of the open medley of 26 television themes, which was arranged and conducted by Mark Watters. Jeremy will participate in the ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop 2014 with Richard Bellis. Lionsgate’s feature film “Mischief Night,” for which Jeremy wrote the score to, was released on DVD. Jeremy won “Best Song/Score – Mobile Game” for his score to the iPad game Tricklab at the 2013 Hollywood Music in Media Awards at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood, California.  Tricklab features Gina Luciani MM ’13, flute performance, on flute and piccolo.  He also received a nomination in the same category for the big band score to iPhone game ZombieSC.  Additionally, Jeremy received the “Award of Merit – Video Game Score” for Tricklab and the “Award of Excellence – Composition” for ZombieSC, both from the 2013 Global Music Awards.  Finally, Jeremy collaborated with Mark Watters ’77, Saxophone Performance, to score Disney’s Get a Horse!, a new Mickey Mouse short that is currently screening before the film Frozen, in theaters now.

Dale Trumbore MM ’11, Composition
Dale had several of her new works premiered, including: I Am Music performed by Choral Arts Initiative and Pendant que le marin performed by The Princeton Singers. She was selected as the “Young Composer” winner of The Esoterics’ Polyphonos choral composition competition and will be writing a new commissioned piece that The Esoterics will premiere next year. Dale is the winner of the 2014 Busan Choral Composition Competition in South Korea and will have the world-premiere of Chant for Winter performed by the Korean Ansan City Choir in October 2014. Visit Dale’s website here.

Daniel Weidlein ’12, Jazz Studies and Erik Miron ’09, Humanities (Music)
The Vintage Modernists (consisting of Daniel Weidlein, Erik Miron, and Cameron Hicks) performed at Typhoon Restaurant in Santa Monica on August 5.

David Werfelmann DMA ’14, Composition
David has been appointed assistant professor of music at Webster University, where he will teach music theory and composition in addition to leading the BA in Music program.

What’s Next? Ensemble
The What’s Next? ensemble, a new music collective directed by Vimbayi Kaziboni ’10, percussion, Alex Miller DMA ’10, composition, Ben Phelps DMA ’10, composition, and John Stulz ’10, viola, is bringing Dutch avant/pop composer JacobTV to Los Angeles for a residency and concert of his music on March 28, funded in part with a grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Netherlands America Foundation. For more information on upcoming concerts, click here.

Weicheng Zhao MM ’14, current DMA candidate, Organ and Francine Nguyen-Savaria GCRT ’13, Organ
Weicheng and Francine were selected to perform on the Young Artists’ Platform during the Calgary Organ Festival and Symposium in Canada. Visit Francine’s YouTube page here.


Julie Boardman ’04, Music Industry
Julie will be receiving the Spirit of Troy Award at the USC Alumni Club of New York’s 5th Annual Tommy Awards on June 23, 2014. Since graduation Julie has worked in various aspects of the entertainment industry, from record labels (SonyBMG & Jive Records), to performing in multiple musicals (including the National Tour of the Broadway musical, 42nd Street), to coordinating events and sponsorship deals, starting her own promotional marketing agency (Boardman Productions) and most recently producing Broadway shows. She is currently co-producer of An American in Paris (coming to Broadway Spring 2015) and Peter & the Starcatcher (1st National Tour) through her company, Untitled Theatricals. In 2012 Julie received the Widney Alumni House Volunteer Award and sat on USC’s ALC Advisory Committee.

Matthew Brown MM ’04, DMA ’08, Composition
Matthew had selected choral works released by the Antioch Chamber Ensemble, titled, “(though love be a day).”

Calder Quartet
The Calder Quartet – originally formed at USC by alumni Benjamin Jacobson ’01, MM ’07, violin, Andrew Bulbrook ’02, on violin, Jonathan Moerschel ’01, MM ’03, viola, and Eric Byers ’03, cello – will kick off their two-year residency at The Broad Stage on October 19. On November the Calder Quartet was joined by fellow alumni Emmy Award-winning composer Bear McCreary ’02 and soprano Melanie Henley Heyn ’04 for two performances.

Jessica Rose Cambio MM ’06, Vocal Arts
Jessica recently made her UK debut as Mimi in the Francesca Zambello production of Puccini’s La Boheme at the Royal Albert Hall in London to critical acclaim after performances in Como, Brescia, Pavia, Cremona, Tel Aviv, and in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She will reprise the role and debut Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni this fall in Macedonia, Thailand, and China. Other recent engagements include Beatriz in Catan’s La Hija de Rappaccini with Gotham Chamber Opera.

Terry Carter MM ’02, Guitar
Terry and his band TC & The Tomcats performed at the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center on Thursday, November 7.  They also performed with the Wirechoir at East Los Angeles College on Friday, November 8.

Alan Chan DMA ’08, Composition
The Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra released their debut album Shrimp Tale on July 15 to rave reviews from, DownBeat Magazine, New York City Jazz Record and Jazz Weekly. Additionally, the USC Thornton String Quartet will premiere Alan’s piece, “Lotus Land,” inspired by Lee Mullican’s painting, with Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater at the Laguna Dance Festival on September 13. He has been appointed the Director of Jazz Band One and Applied Music Instructor at El Camino College this fall. Alan and his 17-piece Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra officially released their debut EP “Rancho Calaveras,” which was independently produced and fully fan-funded, in October 2013. Visit Alan’s website here.

Louis Cole ’09, Jazz Studies
Louis led his electronic funk-pop duo Knower in a concert at The Edye as part of The Broad Stage’s Under The Radar series on Sunday, October 26. Recently hailed by Flying Lotus as an artist to watch, you can read more about Louis’ time at USC Thornton here.

Kevin Cooper MM ’01, DMA ’06, Classical Guitar
Kevin released Friends of Ferdinand: Music from the Court of the Holy Roman Emperor (VGo Recordings) with baroque ensemble Agave Baroque. The recording was featured on Indiana Public Radio’s Harmonia in a program entitled “This is Fantastic!” and is now available on Amazon.

Colin Davin ’09, Classical Guitar
Colin performed the folk-blues classic “Midnight Special” with GRAMMY Award-winning contemporary opera singer Jessye Norman on the Late Show with David Letterman on November 20. Visit Colin’s website here.

Nové Deypalan MM ’09, Choral Music
Nové, along with USC Thornton faculty and alumnus Michael Powers MM ’05, conducting, organized the highly anticipated 2014 Los Angeles Conducting Workshop, a project of the Pasadena Arts Council EMERGE Program. The masterclass will be led by Maestro Kenneth Kiesler, Director of Orchestras at the University of Michigan, and will take place at the Pasadena City College Center for the Performing Arts on August 11-15. A select group of 12 conductor fellows will lead the workshop orchestra in a final concert at USC’s Bovard Auditorium on Saturday, August 16. For further information on the concert, visit their website. He recently received a conducting award at the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic International Masterclass in February 2014, where he was awarded the highest distinction. He also directed the Walnut Valley Symphony and Master Chorale in a holiday solstice celebration on Saturday, December 28 in Walnut, California and presented the world-premiere concert of the newly formed Nové Deypalan Singers on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at the First Baptist Church in Pasadena, CA.  Nové is founder and music director of the Walnut Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Walnut Valley Master Chorale, as well as music director at St. Lorenzo Ruiz Church in Walnut, CA.

Karim Elmahmoudi GCRT ’07, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Karim will have “Orbit: A Symphonic Fantasy” performed by the Orchestra Northern Arizona on October 18 as part of their space-themed concert in support of the Dark Skies Festival. The orchestra will be conducted by former principal horn of the London Symphony Orchestra, David Cripps, who performed first horn on all six Star Wars movies. As part of the festival, Karim will conduct talks about music and astronomy at Lowell Observatory, and at four local high schools during the week. “Orbit: A Symphonic Fantasy” is heard hourly at the California Science Center (permanent home of the Space Shuttle Endeavor) and took part in the NASA JPL Curiosity birthday celebration last year. Karim’s piece was first premiered in November 18, 2012 by then-USC Thornton faculty member, the late David Weiss and the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra. Visit Karim’s website here.

Aurelien Eulert GCRT ’09, DMA candidate, Keyboard Collaborative Arts
Aurelien will be Palm Beach Opera’s Head Coach for the Young Artists Program and on Music Staff for its main stage production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffman in March 2014.

Gal Faganel ’03, MM ’05, DMA ’07, Cello
Gal, assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado, recently joined the faculty at Rocky Ridge Music Center.  During the five-week long Young Artist Seminar, he climbed Longs Peak (the highest peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park) and performed a concert at 14,259 feet.

Chenny Gan DMA ’09, Piano
Chenny has been appointed as Assistant Professor for Piano and Collaborative Piano at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.

Ross Garren ’08, Composition
Ross is one of the 4 composers selected to participate in the 2014 Sundance Institute Music and Sound Design Lab – Documentary at Skywalker Sound. The program brings select composers, sound designers, and directors together to explore the collaborative process of designing a soundtrack for film. Ross is a Los Angeles-based pianist, harmonicist, and composer. In addition to an active freelance career, he has released numerous solo records, has written music featured on a number of television shows, and has served on staff at the Musician’s Institute.

Kathleen Grace MM ’04, Jazz Studies
USC Thornton alumna and current faculty Kathleen Grace released her fourth studio album, No Place to Fall, to rave reviews.

Evan Hirschelman MM ’06, Guitar
Evan has had his new book, Acoustic Artistry: Tapping, Slapping, & Percussion Techniques for Classical and Fingerstyle Guitar (Hal Leonard), translated into multiple languages, including German, French, and Dutch by De Haske / Hal Leonard Publications in Europe. This year, Hal Leonard will publish his new book Classical Guitar Chops, which analyzes guitar technique throughout the history of classical guitar repertoire.

Vincent Ho DMA ’06, Composition
Vincent is currently completing his seventh and final season with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) as composer-in-residence. Upcoming performances of his percussion concerto The Shaman featuring Dame Evelyn Glennie include: WSO at Carnegie Hall on May 2-3 and May 8; Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra at Hong Kong Cultural Center Concert Hall on June 28; and Shanghai Chinese Orchestra on July 8. Vincent will have the world premiere of his triple concerto Three Warriors for 3 cellos and string orchestra on June 22 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It will be presented by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as part of Winnipeg’s International Cello Festival of Canada Cello Festival Grand Finale. On March 7, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and cellist Shauna Rolston performed Vincent’s City Suite: Concerto for Amplified Cello and Orchestra as part of their annual New Creations Festival: 10th Anniversary Edition.

Deborah How PhD ’09, Historical Musicology
Deborah is cofounder and CEO of a new music innovation and technology corporation, BRAVURA innovations.  Social Music Works, a division of BRAVURA innovations, has just launched the first International Video Upload Competition 2014 – Piano, which will explore the global accessibility and community building of music making through the use of social media.

Shirley Hunt MM ’08, Cello
Shirley recently released her debut CD, J.S. Bach Suites & Sonatas Volume One, which features the music of J.S. Bach played on baroque cello and viola de gamba, available for purchase on iTunes. Three tracks on the recording also feature current PhD candidate Ian Pritchard, historical musicology. Earlier this month, the recording was featured on Dennis Bartel’s morning show on KUSC and also on WFMT Chicago’s New Releases program.

Cheri Jamison ’06, Vocal Arts
Cheri just completed her 7th season with the Long Beach Opera’s Educational Outreach Program, presenting the one-woman opera, “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Eric Jasper GCRT ’08, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Eric was awarded an Emmy on November 3 by the Chicago/Midwest affiliate of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for his original score for the documentary Skokie: Invaded but Not Conquered.  The film was also recognized that evening as Best Historical Documentary.  Skokie: Invaded but Not Conquered examines the personalities and issues connected to the attempted neo-Nazi March in Skokie in the late 1970s and reveals how a debate over First Amendment rights inspired Holocaust survivors to become activists.  Jasper’s work and the film will air nationally on PBS affiliates across the country in April 2014.

Nikhil Korula ’01, Vocal Arts
Nikhil and his band opened for Gavin Degraw at Summerfest 2013.  He also released an EP titled Solo Sessions which he recorded with Dave Matthews Band members Butch Taylor and Jeff Coffin.  One of the songs, “Fade Away,” is now #10 on the Hot AC charts.

Paul Kwo ’03, Piano, MM ’06, Composition
Paul plays Martin Yip as a supporting lead in the new movie, God’s Not Dead in select theaters nationwide on March 21. He has also worked on Automated Dialog Replacement (ADR) on Pacific Rim, Thor: The Dark World, The Lone Ranger, Gangster Squad, and Blacklist in 2013. His new single “Hosanna Hallelujah” was released on iTunes in 2014. He also founded a performing arts school in Alhambra named “PopRock Academy,” where students learn music, dancing, and acting. For more information on PopRock Academy, click here. You may also visit Paul’s website.

Ryan Lerman ’09, Studio/Jazz Guitar
Ryan is currently the music director and guitarist for GRAMMY Award-winning artist John Legend’s “All of Me” tour. Fellow USC Thornton alumnus Rodney Wirtz MM ’04, viola, is also part of the orchestra for the world-wide tour. Visit Ryan’s website here.

Bob Lydecker ’08, Composition, GCRT ’09, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Robert was nominated for an Emmy for “Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music – 2014” for the television show Sleepy Hollow.

Lyris Quartet
The Lyris Quartet — which consists of Thornton alumni Luke Maurer ’02, MM ’05, viola, and Timothy Loo ARTD ’03, cello —performed at the opening of Jacaranda’s 2014-2015 season with guest pianist and fellow alumnus Steven Vanhauwaert MM ’06, GCRT ’08, piano. Visit the Lyris Quartet’s website here.

Bear McCreary ’02, Composition
Bear earned his first Emmy Award on September 15, 2013 for the Main Title Theme for Da Vinci’s Demons at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California.  Bear is the composer for the ABC pilot for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Michael Mollo GCRT ’07, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Michael recently scored Capcom’s Strider.

Deidre Moore ’03, Harp minor
Deidre produced and released “Holy Water” with her band Whiskey Sunday. They have been featured in Celtic Music Magazine and will be part of the Get Shamrocked Festival in Murrieta in September among some of the biggest Irish rock groups in the world. Deidre has been featured in iPhone, Hallmark, and Chevy commercials as a harpist, as well as a number of television shows. Follow Whiskey Sunday by liking their Facebook page.

New West Guitar Group
Thornton alumni ensemble New West Guitar GroupJohn Storie ’06, studio/jazz guitar, Perry Smith ’05, studio/jazz guitar, and Jeff Stein ’11, music – will be performing with Thornton alumna and faculty member Sara Gazarek ’04, jazz studies, during the month of October on a tour of the west coast. New West Guitar Group also releaseed “Big City” on Summit Records on September 10. This album marks their 5th release as a group. The album includes originals and arrangements of songs from Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, The Police, and Tears for Fears. This summer, New West Guitar Group is also collaborating with Concord Records artist Spencer Day, Chicago guitarist Fareed Haque, and the California Guitar Trio at concerts along the west coast and midwest U.S.

Andrew Norman ’02, Piano Performance, MM ’04, Composition
Andrew will premiere his latest piece, Release, with Emanuel Ax and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on May 1 and 3. The piece will be performed at the LA Phil’s “Ax Brahms Project: Ax & Dudamel” program at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Lucinda Carver DMA ’89, piano, vice dean of the Classical Performance & Composition division, will interview Norman as part of the Upbeat Live pre-concert talk. Andrew joined the USC Thornton School of Music faculty as Assistant Professor of Composition in Fall 2013.

Tish Oney DMA ’07, Jazz Studies
Tish was selected to perform with Symphoria, Central New York’s newest symphony orchestra, as their 2013 Holiday Pops vocalist on a four-city tour throughout Central New York in December 2013. The final concert of the tour occurred at the 2,200-seat Crouse-Hinds Concert Hall at the OnCenter to a sold-out audience.  Tish was also honored by University of South Carolina as a Winter Scholar for her research project, the development of two nationally-touring symphony concerts, one of which she premiered with Symphoria in December.  A touring Blujazz recording artist, she also performed two artist showcases at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference in January as part of the Two Great Days In the Harlem Suite all-star jazz lineup featuring many of the greatest jazz artists touring today.  Tish currently serves as Coordinator for Commercial Music, Director of Jazz Studies, Director of Vocal Studies and Director of Choral Activities at University of South Carolina Upstate.

Gretchen Parlato GCRT ’03, Jazz Studies
Gretchen received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. The first vocalist to be admitted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Gretchen recently released the GRAMMY-nominated album Live in NYC.

Derek Polischuk ’01, MM ’04, DMA ’06, Piano
Derek released his debut CD with Blue Griffin Recording, titled, “Terra Incognita.”

Kate Prestia-Schaub MM ’03, Flute
Kate released her debut CD, Timeless.

Chris Rozé DMA ’06, Composition
Composition faculty and alumnus Chris wrote Changing Light, a new chamber work written for and premiered by horn faculty Kristy Morrell MM ’94, DMA ’97, French horn, in November. Since then, it has been performed at the U.S. West Horn Symposium by Michael Thornton, principal horn of Colorado Symphony, and at the Royal College of Music in London by alumnus Pablo Ortiz De Urbina ’10, French horn.

Richard Sears ’09, Jazz Studies
Richard premiered a work commissioned by the Los Angeles Jazz Society to honor and feature legendary jazz drummer Tootie Heath on Sunday, October 6, 2013.

Sungmin Shin ’09, Classical Guitar
As part of the Eastman Guitar Quartet, Sungmin will perform at the Guitar Foundation of America 2014 Convention & Competition in Fullerton, California this June. The quartet will perform a piece composed by fellow Thornton alumnus Ian Krouse MM ’86, DMA ’88, composition. Sungmin has also been appointed as a guitar instructor at the University at Buffalo Department of Music.

Audrey Solomon MM ’04, GCRT ’06, Violin
Audrey was one of the violinists for the rock group Rush’s Clockwork Angels album and tour.

Ethan Sperry MM ’98, DMA ’00, Choral Music
Ethan received the Conductor’s Award for the most artistic repertoire choices for the Portland State Chamber Choir at the 52nd Annual Seghizzi International Choral Competition.  Additionally, the Portland State Chamber Choir won the Seghizzi Grand Prix 2013 (which no American choir has ever done in the 52 years of the competition), along with top honors in the categories of 19th century music, spiritual music, and best choreography.

John Storie ’06, Studio/Jazz Guitar
John was featured twice in the New York Times for his performances with actor Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Jazz Orchestra at their recent engagement at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Favorable reviews of the show were also written in the New York Post and Wall Street Journal. John performs with Jeff at their weekly residency in Los Angeles at Rockwell Table and Stage.

Jeffrey Welsh MM ’09, Saxophone
Jeffrey recently joined the Shevin Law Group in Los Angeles as an Attorney, as well as the William Morris Endeavor Agency in Beverly Hills as an assistant to the Legal Department in the Entertainment Group.

Austin Wintory ’07, Composition
Austin conducted the orchestra of The Third Estate in a concert titled Mythos, a showcase of great music from across the spectrum of modern orchestral genres—music from Modern Concert Works, Video Games, TV & Film. All of the music has been composed in the last several years, and will be performed without pause. Mythos took place on October 6, 2014 and was part of the first annual New York Super Week festival, four days before New York Comic Con 2014. Visit Austin’s website here.

Kayla Wong MM ’06, Piano
Kayla recently released her debut CD, Allure, which was recorded at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Canada. In addition to being an independent recording artist, she has also performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall in New York and at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Hong Kong. She has previously served as Principal Keyboardist at the Prince George Symphony Orchestra in Canada. Visit Kayla’s website here.

Clara Yang ’04, Piano, and Xiao-Dan Zheng ’05, Cello
Clara and Xiao-Dan released Grieg and Prokofiev (Albany) on April 1, 2014. It will be aired on WCPE 89.7 FM and Women in Music 98.5 FM. Clara is Assistant Professor of Piano at UNC-Chapel Hill and Xiao-Dan is a tenured member of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra.

Julia Yu-Ying Tai ’02, Vocal Arts, MM ’04, Choral Music
Julia will make her conducting debut with the Seattle Symphony in March 2014 in their Celebrate Asia concert.  After receiving her DMA from the University of Washington in Orchestral Conducting, Tai founded the Seattle Modern Orchestra and is the music director of Philharmonia Northwest.

Jeff Toyne GCRT ’01, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Jeff composed the score for the thriller movie The Privileged, now available on iTunes. Jeff will also be flown to Toronto, Canada, to participate in a panel titled “Creative Dynamic,” celebrating the merge of the Canadian Director’s Guild and Composer’s Guild.

John Whitener MM ’95, DMA ’07, Music Education
Dr. John Whitener, Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching Music Program and Associate Professor of Practice in Music Education at USC Thornton, served as a guest lecturer at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the China Conservatory in Beijing, and the Xi’an Conservatory.  Dr. Whitener also traveled to Ulaan-Bataar, Mongolia to meet with officials from the Mongolian College of Music and Dance and administrators of public school music.

Paul Young MM ’06, DMA ’09, Jazz Studies
USC Thornton faculty and director of the Music Industry Minors program Paul Young was selected as one of this year’s recipients of the 2014 Steven B. Sample Teaching & Mentoring Award. The award honors faculty members who have been nominated by parents and is given during the USC Trojan Family Weekend.


Richard Bernstein ’90, Vocal Arts
Richard made his Wagnerian debut as Daland in The Flying Dutchman.

Peter Boyer GCRT ’96, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television
Peter will release the second recording of his music in Naxos’ American Classics Series, featuring his Symphony No. 1 and four other works, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under his direction. The CD will be released on February 25.

Christoph Bull MM ’93, Organ
Christoph joined USC Thornton organ studies faculty Cherry Rhodes and an elite group of organists in concert as they celebrated the anniversary of the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s famous organ, “Hurricane Mama” on Sunday, November 23. Visit Christoph’s website here.

Tracy Carr DMA ’94, Oboe
Dr. Tracy Carr has recently been promoted to Professor of Double Reeds at Eastern New Mexico University. She also serves as Professor of Music History at ENMU. Tracy is a founding member of Trio Encantada and is active as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, clinician, and adjudicator.

Antoine Diel ’96, MM ’99, Vocal Arts
Antoine recently released his debut album, On the Corner of Hope and New Orleans with the Misfit Power. Since moving to New Orleans, Antoine has performed at the French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest, and all around town, making a name for himself as one of the premiere voices in New Orleans.

Timothy Emmons MM ’96, Jazz Studies
Timothy has been hired to teach double bass at Pasadena City College. He has also been appointed Principal Double Bass with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra.

Christina Linhardt ’97, Vocal Arts
Christina received a Hollywood Fame Award for Best Documentary 2013 for her documentary, “Guantanamo Circus,” which she produced, wrote, directed, and scored.

Carlos Marquez MM ’96, Piano
Carlos has received over one million plays in his SoundCloud page over the last 2 years. He has recently released “Stephan Beneking: 10 Nocturnes – 12 Valkyries,” his third album dedicated to piano music of the contemporary German composer.

Lansing McLoskey MM ’92, Composition
Lansing was appointed Full Professor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. He was a guest composer at the 2014 Red Note New Music Festival, where he won First Prize in the Composition Competition. Lansing is currently working on commissions from Ensemble Berlin PianoPercussion and ensemberlino vocale, a professional chamber choir in Berlin. Two of his CD’s were released to critical praise in late 2013 on Albany Records: “Specific Gravity: Chamber Music of Lansing McLoskey” and “The Unheard Music,” featuring his multi-award winning concerto, “What We Do Is Secret.” In summer 2013 he was a guest composer at the Tanglewood Institute, lectured at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, and had works performed at music festivals in Finland, Mexico, Spain, and Columbia.

Kristy Morrell MM ’94, DMA ’97, French Horn
Kristy had her book, “Musician, Heal Thyself,” released on November 1.

Roger Myers ’90, MM ’92, Viola
Roger received “Best of Show” for his album “Fantasy and Farewell” (Delos) with the London Symphony Orchestra at the 2014 Global Music Awards, a top-tier music competition that honors performers and composers in all genres from around the world counting some of the most important musicians in their fields as their honorees.

Kathleen Roland-Silverstein MM ’96, DMA ’97, Vocal Arts
Kathleen released her book, “Romanser: 25 Swedish Songs, with Guide to Swedish Lyric Diction” in January 2014 through Gehrmans Musikförlag, Scandinavia’s foremost music publishing house.  The book is an anthology of art song in Swedish, especially created for the English or American classical singer wishing to expand their performance repertoire.  Dr. Roland-Silverstein is a Fulbright senior scholar, and a grantee from the American Scandinavian Foundation.

Greg Reitan ’96, Composition (Film Scoring)
Greg released his new album Post No Bills (Sunnyside Records) and received a glowing review in The Buffalo News. His trio (comprised of fellow Thornton jazz alumni Jack Daro ’93, MM ’99, on bass, and Dean Koba MM ’93, on drums) will perform at the Blue Whale on Thursday, September 11. Greg was featured in a new profile article, “The Shape of Jazz to Come” in a special issue of Dwell Magazine. Visit Greg’s website here.

Tess Remy-Schumacher MM ’89, DMA ’98, Violoncello
Tess co-founded the first Center for Historical Performance at the University of Central Oklahoma with Dr. Ted Honea. Tess is Professor of Music at the University of Central Oklahoma and previously spent two years at Harvard University as a Visiting Fellow Performance and Scholar. Visit Tess’s website here.

Diane Farhat Snodgrass DMA ’90, Piano
Diane released Night Soliloquy (Azica/Naxos) with flutist Lori Bell.

George Stamatakis ’98
George released VITALtuner for iPhone and iPad through his Los Angeles-based company, Otreus. Otreus has released acclaimed hit apps StudioMini in 2009 and StudioMini XL in 2011, multi-track recorder apps for iPhone and iPad.

Claire Stancu-Delerue ’86, MM ’91, Classical Guitar
Claire teaches “Technique for the Modern Singer,” which is based on the latest research in vocal physiology , vocal rehabilitation, and acoustics. While she is based in Paris, France, she also offers individual instruction via Skype. Claire is also an active songwriter and performer as part of the duo Flora | Miles.

Leland Sun ’86, MM ’91, Piano
Leland will perform in a retrospective of works by fellow USC Thornton alumnus Ren-Liang Wong MM ’83, composition, at the Tianjin Conservatory of Music in Tianjin, China on November 12. This concert will feature works written following the composer’s immigration to the United States including Six Sketches (1983), which Sun premiered at USC, a piano transcription by Sun of Wong’s Tone Poem (1991), and two works for string quartet to be performed by the Tianjin Conservatory’s resident quartet.

Emerson Swinford MM ’92, Guitar
Emerson recently joined Rod Stewart’s band and is touring as the lead guitarist.  Emerson also co-wrote two songs on Rod’s latest CD, Time.

Robert Thies ’93, MM ’95, Piano
Robert received a glowing review for his performance of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra. Past performances include Schubert’s Winterreise with baritone Ryan McKinny, Rachmaninoff’s Sonata for Piano and Cello and Strauss’ Sonata for Piano and Cello with cellist Andrew Schulman on Sunday, March 2, and a solo piano recital at Ventura College on Monday, March 3 for their Music Exposed series. Robert also performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 with the San Luis Obispo Symphony on February 1 to a sold-out hall and received a standing ovation. One reviewer wrote, “His no-nonsense manner and passion revealed sensitivity and power, and a lyricism fully emerged. His performance prompted the audience to give Thies one of the longest, loudest standing ovations I’ve heard in my years.” He will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467 with the Bakersfield Symphony on April 12 in celebration of John Farrer’s final season with the orchestra. Recently, Robert recorded Sonata for Cello and Piano, which was written by USC Thornton faculty Bruce Broughton ’67, Composition, for fellow USC cello faculty Andrew Shulman. He has many upcoming performances in the Los Angeles area, and you can find this information on his website:

Michael Timpson ’92, Composition
Michael was appointed Associate Professor of Music Composition at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea in 2010.

Anthony Tobin MM ’92, Piano
Anthony was recently named a Steinway Artist. His Spring 2014 recitals included performances in Arosa, Austin, and Davos and concluded in June with an all-Debussy performance on one of Claude Debussy’s own pianos in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France. His August 27th all-Mozart recital in Zurich, Switzerland will be performed on a pianoforte.

Donald Vega ’99, Jazz Studies
Donald was the first recipient of the Colburn School for Performing Arts Distinguished Alumni Award on Saturday, March 15, 2014. He recently released “Spiritual Nature,” in stores and on iTunes now. Visit Donald’s site here.

David Viscoli MM ’89, DMA ’92, Piano
David was recently awarded the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award at Minnesota State University, Mankato where he is currently a Professor of Piano.

Tommy Walter ’93, Theory, Composition, and Film Scoring
Tommy recently scored a series of commercials that are running nationally for Union Pacific Railroad. Visit Tommy’s website here.

Margery McDuffie Whatley DMA ’94, Piano
Dr. Whatley was recently named a Steinway Artist. Visit Margery’s website here.


James Beaumier DMA ’89, Choral Music
James recently conducted a concert with over 100 singers and the Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Entitled “Broadway and Boom,” the concert included Broadway medleys arranged by James from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and Rent. He is also celebrating 25 years as Conductor of the Hartsville Community Chorus.

Grant Gershon ’85, Piano
The Los Angeles Times commended Thornton alumnus and Board of Councilors member Grant Gershon ’85, artistic director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and resident conductor of LA Opera, for the Master Chorale’s performance of a celebrated composition by USC Distinguished Professor Morten Lauridsen ’66, MM ’68, DMA ’74, composition, titled “O Magnum Mysterium.” The article featured a review of the Music Center’s 50th Anniversary Spectacular.

Rod Gilfry MM ’83, Vocal Arts
Vocal arts and opera faculty Rod Gilfry performed the role of Howard K. Stein in the opera “Anna Nicole” with the New York City Opera in September 2013.

Robert G. Hasty ’86, Music Education
Robert is Associate Director of Orchestras at the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University and was recently appointed Music Director of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin.  The great success of Dr. Hasty’s inaugural season with the KSO continues as he prepares to launch his second season in October 2013.  Dr. Hasty has also joined the International Schools Choral Music Society as Artistic Director of the orchestra program with a February 2013 performance in Busan, South Korea and an upcoming February 2014 festival in Beijing, China.

William Kanengiser ’81, MM ’83, Classical Guitar
USC Thornton faculty William Kanengiser was recently featured in an educational video for Classical Guitar Tone Production. Fellow Thornton alumnus and chair of the classical guitar program Brian Head MM ’91, guitar, provided the narration for the video.

Tina Karen Lo ’82, Classical Guitar
Tina will perform at Wadham College at the University of Oxford this fall on September 28 with Nathan Vale, tenor. Tina also performed a concert with violinist Andrea Zanchetta on June 14 titled “French Musical Miniatures” as part of the Le French May 2014 in Hong Kong.

Clement Reid MM ’80
Clement was commissioned by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra to write an orchestral work for their Nordic Nights program, and the piece, Northern Lights premiered on April 27, 2013 at the Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien, WA, near Seattle.  Anthony Spain directed the Northwest Symphony Orchestra.  In addition, Clement’s Northwest Fanfare opened the fall orchestral season on October 15, 2013 at Pacific Lutheran University with Jeffrey Bell-Hanson conducting.

Diane Wittry ’83, Music Education, MM ’85, Conducting
Diane received the National Achievement Service Award from the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences (BHAAAS) on October 11 for her work with the International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians with the Sarajevo Philharmonic in Bosnia. Diane’s latest book, Baton Basics – Communicating Music through Gestures, will be released on November 1, 2014. Diane is Music Director-Conductor of the Allentown Symphony, which was recently awarded First Prize in the national “American Prize 2014” in the Professional Orchestra category. Diane is the new Artistic Director of the Ridgewood Symphony which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary Season. The first concert took place on October 25. Visit Diane’s website here.


Ken Camarella ’63, MM ’74, Music
Ken and his wife Nancy were honored by the Arrowheads Arts Association (AAA) at their annual gala fundraising dinner on July 1, 2013.  The couple was lauded for 15 years of dedication to helping AAA’s mission of “Bringing the Magic of Music to the Mountains.”  Under Ken’s leadership, AAA began providing string instruction to the mountain children in 2000.  For the last 13 years, AAA has sponsored an average of 100 students per year in the instruction of violin, viola and cello, cultivating not only better performers, but also better citizens.

Billy Childs ’79, Composition
Billy received three GRAMMY nominations for the album Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro, including Best Jazz Vocal Album. He was also nominated for Best American Roots Performance for the track, “And When I Die,” and Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for the song, “New York Tendaberry” featuring Alison Krauss & Jerry Douglas. Billy previously won three separate GRAMMY awards for instrumental composition and arrangement.

Harold Daugherty MM ’67, DMA ’76, Church Music
Harold wrote an article published by the American Choral Directors Association’s Choral Journal on John LaMontaine’s trilogy of Christmas operas. He also conducted the choir and soloists of La Canada Congregational Church in a program of Mendelssohn’s choral music on May 18. MM Choral Music candidate Anna O’Connell was featured in the cantata “Hear My Prayer.” For more information on the event, click here.

Morten Lauridsen ’66, MM ’68, DMA ’74, Composition
USC Distinguished Professor of Composition and USC Thornton School of Music alumnus Morten Lauridsen was the subject of a recent day-long festival held at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, Canada. Visit Professor Lauridsen’s website here.

Lisa Donovan Lukas ’78
Lisa published her first book, The Young Musician’s Guide to Songwriting: How to Create Music and Lyrics (For Music Students and Teachers), an Amazon Bestseller in Music Composition/Songwriting. Visit Lisa’s website here.

David Morales ’71, MM ’73, Choral Music
David received the Chorus America Education and Community Engagement Award, honoring his leadership in the Cantare Children’s Choirs of Oakland. The award will be presented in Washington, D.C. at the 2014 Chorus America Awards Conference from June 11-14, 2014.

Thomas Newman, Composition
USC Thornton Board of Councilors member and six-time GRAMMY Award-winner Thomas Newman received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for the feature film, Saving Mr. Banks. Tom has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards and three Golden Globes.

Joan RuBane DMA ’77, Piano
Joan announced the 8th season of International Classical Concerts, a chamber music series held at the Rancho Mirage Public Library in Rancho Mirage, California.  The first concert will be on January 25, 2014 and will feature Joyce Yang, Van Cliburn Silver Medalist.  Future concerts will feature Augustin Hadelich, Indianapolis Violin Competition Gold Medalist, the Parisii String Quartet from Paris, cellist Sergei Antonov, Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medalist, and the Hermitage Piano Trio from Russia.

Nick Strimple MM ’73, Sacred Music, DMA ’76, Choral Music
Professor Strimple lectured on 19th and 20th century French choral music as part of the Summer Choral Festival at Cal State University Los Angeles on July 23.  On August 22, Professor Strimple conducts the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale, with British organist Iain Farrington, in a concert honoring the Bar Mitzvah of the great-grandson of composers Arnold Schoenberg and Eric Zeisl.  Sponsored by the Schoenberg family, the concert will take place at Sinai Temple, Los Angeles.  Repertoire includes Zeisl’s “Requiem Eabraico” and “Songs for the Daughter of Jeptha” as well as Schoenberg’s “Kol Nidre” and the opening scene and entr’act of “Moses and Aron.”

Larry Zalkind ’77, MM ’79, Trombone
Larry was recently appointed Associate Professor of Trombone at Eastman School of Music beginning fall 2014.  Since 1981, Larry has been the principal trombonist of the Utah Symphony and a faculty member at the University of Utah and the Grand Teton Festival.  He has performed with numerous other symphonies including Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and Atlanta; and he has been a member of the Summit Brass since 1990.  Larry pursued doctoral work at the University of Michigan.


Walt Farrier ’60, MM ’62
Walt was honored at a concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salem, Oregon.  Over 100 performers presented a concert entirely of music written or arranged by Walt.

Kenneth Klein ’63, Violin and Gerald Robbins ’68, Piano
Kenneth and Gerald recorded a live performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Gerald as soloist and Kenneth as conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic, and is featured in the opening scene for the 2013 Lee Daniels film “The Butler,” whose cast includes Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, and John Cusack.

Kenneth Lowenberg MM ’66, Composition
Kenneth has been named Organist at National City Christian Church. In 2006, Ken retired after 38 years as full-time Minister of Music (Organist-Choirmaster) at the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. A collection of Ken’s solo organ music, “Gregorian Preludes for the Liturgical Year,” was recently published by GIA Music Publishers. Visit Kenneth’s website here.

Jack Miller MM ’68, Music
Jack prepared the 4th Bravo Bach Festival in September.  The festival involved six concerts at three venues featuring Sacramento State Early Music Ensemble, Camerata Capistrano, Archetti Baroque String Ensemble, Joe Gilman Jazz Trio, The Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet with organist Rhonda Edgington Sider, and guitarist Antoniy Kakamakov.

Royce Saltzman DMA ’64, Choral Music
Royce will be awarded the Robert Shaw Award, which is presented to a choral leader who has made significant contributions to the art of choral music, at the 2015 ACDA National Conference. Royce was nominated for his outstanding contributions for the forming and leadership of the Oregon Bach Festival. View Royce’s bio here.