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Vince Mendoza releases album with WDR Big Band

February 24, 2017

The WDR Big Band will release an album of music by USC Thornton Jazz composer and alumnus Vince Mendoza, who is currently Composer in Residence and 1st Guest Conductor for the Cologne, Germany, based ensemble. Homecoming, which will be released March 3rd, features 7 original tracks composed especially for the band and recorded live at […]


Juan Pablo Contreras receives the 2017 Presser Graduate Award

February 23, 2017

Juan Pablo Contreras, a doctoral candidate in the USC Thornton Composition program, has received the 2017 Presser Graduate Award, which honors exceptional graduate students who have the potential to make a distinguished contribution within the field of music. Composition program chair Donald Crockett said that Contreras has been granted a “wonderful and rare opportunity,” through […]


Student chamber duo wins prizes in Boulder

February 22, 2017

Cellist Coleman Itzkoff and pianist Alin Melik-Adamyan (’12, MM ’14, piano), who perform as the Amicus Duo, recently earned top prizes at the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition, winning second prize overall and a special prize for best performance of Arthur Gottschalk’s Some Assembly Required. The USC Thornton student duo formed in 2014 and have […]


Kenneth Cazan directs “Frau Schindler” opera in Munich

February 21, 2017

USC Thornton Vocal Arts & Opera chair Kenneth Cazan is currently in Munich to stage direct the opera Frau Schindler, which premieres this coming March. The opera, which received a concert reading at USC Thornton last year, follows the life of Emilie Schindler, wife of the well known Oskar, and explores her contributions during the […]


The National Children’s Chorus forms partnership with USC Thornton School of Music

February 17, 2017

USC Thornton has announced a new partnership with the National Children’s Chorus (NCC), America’s leading treble choral ensemble. The new educational initiative, designed to further train select young conductors in Thornton’s Choral & Sacred Music program, will provide graduate students with two positions annually on the NCC’s artistic staff. USC Thornton DMA candidate Alexander Lloyd […]


Alumnus Ray Zepeda presents a Milton Babbitt tribute concert

February 17, 2017

Saxophonist Ray Zepeda (MM ’98, Jazz Studies), founder and artistic director of the Bakersfield New Music Collective, recently organized a tribute concert for the serial composer, Milton Babbitt. The free event, entitled “Re-Imagining Milton Babbitt: A Centennial Celebration for an Exceptional American,” took place at The Mark in downtown Bakersfield and featured seminal pieces by […]


USC acquires Paul Salamunovich Archive

February 16, 2017

USC Thornton’s department of Choral and Sacred Music, in conjunction with the USC Libraries Special Collections, has been gifted the archives of the late conductor, scholar, and educator, Paul Salamunovich. A long-time conductor and music director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and an influential voice in choral pedagogy, Salamunovich also taught at Thornton and […]


Alumni arrange and score for Paramount’s “XXX: Return of Xander Cage”

February 15, 2017

USC Thornton Screen Scoring alumni Robert Lydecker (BM ’08, film scoring, GCRT ‘09, SMPTV), Kenny Wood (GCRT ‘09, SMPTV) and Harrison Lee (GCRT ’12, SMPTV) worked on the score for Paramount’s new film XXX: Return of Xander Cage, which was released this past January. Wood and Lee served as arrangers on the project, while Lydecker […]


Thornton percussionists take center stage in LA Phil’s Reich tribute

February 10, 2017

On January 17, several alumni and USC Thornton Percussion faculty celebrated legendary composer Steve Reich’s 80th birthday in a special Green Umbrella concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil). Faculty member James Babor joined alumni Jeffrey Grant (GCRT ’14), Nick Terry (DMA ’11), and Matthew Howard (’12), who is principal percussionist for the LA […]


Alumna, jazz violinist Nora Germain authors new book

February 9, 2017

Jazz violinist and USC Thornton alumna Nora Germain (’14) recently authored a book entitled, Go For It… Surviving the Challenges of Becoming an Artist. Presented as vignettes from Germain’s professional life story, the book strives to encourage young artists to find their entrepreneurial spirit. In a video on her website, Germain said, “I discuss issues […]


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