Composition News

Alumnus Michael Abels earns praise for “Get Out” Soundtrack

December 14, 2017

Composer and USC Thornton alumnus Michael Abels (’84, Composition) is the subject of a recent Los Angeles Times profile for his scoring work for Jordan Peele’s hit 2017 thriller, Get Out. Peele discovered the composer, who is best known for his gospel and orchestral compositions, through a Youtube clip of Abel’s Urban Legends concerto for […]


Works by Composition alumni performed by Minnesota Orchestra

December 13, 2017

Last month, the Minnesota Orchestra performed works by two USC Thornton Composition alumni under the baton of Osmo Vänskä. Saad Haddad (BM ’14) and Peter Shin (MM ’17) were both participants in the 2017-18 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, a five day workshop featuring rehearsals and seminars, culminating in a public performance. The orchestra performed Haddad’s […]


Nicholas Davies and Seth Johnson win at Pasadena Showcase House competition

December 11, 2017

Two USC Thornton students have earned top prizes at the 32nd annual Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) Instrumental Competition, which took place Nov. 11th, 2017. Trumpet player and master’s student Seth Johnson took first prize in the Brass category. Johnson won a sub-section trumpet Position with the Sinfonia Gulf Coast Symphony last year. […]


Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium” featured in advent calendar

December 7, 2017

O Magnum Mysterium, a beloved choral work by composer and USC Thornton faculty member Morten Lauridsen (’66, MA’68, DMA’74), has been selected as one of 24 works featured in the ORA ensemble’s digital advent calendar. The Los Angeles Master Chorale commissioned Lauridsen’s piece in 1994, which helped to launch the acclaimed composer’s international career. ORA […]


Julia Adolphe is Musical America’s New Artist of the Month

December 1, 2017

Composer Julia Adolphe (MM ’12, composition), a USC Thornton doctoral candidate, is Musical America’s New Artist of the Month for December. In a profile on the organization’s website, Adolphe cited the gender diversity of Thornton’s Composition program as one of the reasons she chose to study at USC. “I didn’t see that anywhere else,” she […]


“Godless” scored by Composition alumnus Carlos Rivera

November 29, 2017

USC Thornton Composition alumnus Carlos Rivera (MM ’04, DMA ’10) recently scored the hit Netflix series Godless, produced by Steven Soderbergh and written and directed by Scott Frank. This isn’t the first time Rivera has composed for a Western – he previously composed the soundtrack for Frank’s 2014 feature film, A Walk Among the Tombstones. […]


College Magazine surveys “10 Music Courses at USC to Jump Start Your Music Career”

November 27, 2017

College Magazine recently put USC Thornton at the center of an article exploring college courses to “Jump Start Your Music Career.” From classes in jazz performance and music theory to Music and Science Fiction and Thornton’s legendary Beatles class, the piece surveys the many innovative learning opportunities available to Thornton music students. The article puts […]


This Saturday, Thornton celebrates new music from “Noon to Midnight” with the LA Phil

November 14, 2017

On Saturday, November 18th, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will welcome the city’s most adventurous music audiences to Walt Disney Concert Hall for a day-long celebration of contemporary composition, Noon to Midnight. In addition to performances by Steven Schick, Rage Thormbones, LA Signal Lab, Los Angeles Electric 8, wild Up, red fish blue fish, gnarwhallaby, SASSAS, […]


New World Symphony to perform work by Jules Pegram

November 8, 2017

On Friday, November 17th, the New World Symphony (NWS) of Miami will perform “NEON NIGHTS” by USC Thornton alumnus Jules Pegram (BM ’13, Composition), as part of the annual PULSE event. The work, which the NWS describes as “a journey through a shimmering, cosmopolitan sound world, one that’s inspired by the hot, glittering neon of […]


Chicago Symphony premieres commission by Elizabeth Ogonek

October 4, 2017

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra recently premiered a commission by USC Thornton alumna Elizabeth Ogonek (MM ’12, Composition), who is serving a three-year term as composer-in-residence with the ensemble. Music director Riccardo Muti led the premiere of All These Lighted Things on September 28th, with performances to follow in Kansas City (Oct. 11) and Berkeley (Oct. […]


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