Alumni News from the 2017-2018 Academic Year

Karina DePiano performs with Troye Sivan on SNL

January 23, 2018

When Karina DePiano (BM ’16) graduated from USC Thornton’s Popular Music program in 2016, she launched straight into a busy touring career as keyboardist and music director for artists such as Rita Ora, Daya, Miley Cyrus, and Troye Sivan. Last weekend, DePiano performed with Sivan on Saturday Night Live (see clip below). The show followed […]


Three USC Thornton cellists save the day at Walt Disney Concert Hall

January 22, 2018

On Friday, January 19th, three USC Thornton cellists took to the stage of Walt Disney Concert Hall for a daring musical rescue mission, of sorts. When Los Angeles Philharmonic soloist Robert deMaine was unable to perform the U.S. premiere of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s daunting modernist Cello Concerto at the last minute, conductor Susanna Mälkki invited […]


William E. Rutherford memorial to be held January 27

January 18, 2018

William E. Rutherford (1929-2017) was an esteemed and renowned scholar, writer, and professor of Linguistics at USC for thirty years. He was also a musician and performed early music on the harpsichord and organ. In the 1960s, he formed the Musica Pacifica ensemble with Shirley Marcus, Ruth Adams, Morris Newman, and others, and the group […]


Bassoonist Elizabeth Roberts earns position with Virginia Symphony

January 17, 2018

USC Thornton Winds & Percussion alumna Elizabeth Roberts (MM ’01, bassoon) recently won the position of Contrabassoon with the Norfolk-based Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Roberts has also served as Principal Bassoon and Director of Youth Education for the Charlottesville Symphony since 2001, where she teaches on the faculty of the University of Virginia.


“Trojan Family Magazine” explores the cutting-edge work of Thornton music educators

January 10, 2018

Trojan Family Magazine recently put a spotlight on arts education in Los Angeles, as championed by a number of USC educators, including USC Thornton faculty and alumni. The article, “The Trojans Bringing Arts Education Back to Kids and Schools,” points to Peter Webster, Thornton’s Scholar-in-Residence and Vice Dean of Division of Scholarly & Professional Studies, […]


Street Symphony project, featuring USC Thornton artists, profiled in “The New Yorker”

January 9, 2018

“One act of love, I know for sure, is listening,” said homeless singer Brian Palmer in The New Yorker magazine’s recent profile of the groundbreaking Street Symphony, which brings Handel’s “Messiah” to the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles’ Skid Row each holiday season. The article, by Alex Ross, explores the extraordinary outreach work of the […]


Jenny Wong reviewed in Scene and Heard International

January 8, 2018

Music writer Douglas Dutton recently reviewed the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s December 10th performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall for the website Seen and Heard International. The concert marked the debut of USC Thornton Choral & Sacred Music DMA candidate Jenny Wong (MM ’13, choral) in the role of associate conductor, leading the ensemble in […]


MUNA garners critical praise

December 21, 2017

2017 was a banner year for the band MUNA, which was formed by USC Thornton Popular Music alumni Katie Gavin (BA ’15) and Josette Maskin (’16), along with Naomi McPherson (BA ’15). In addition to dropping their debut album, About U, the band was invited to open for Harry Styles on the British singer’s North […]


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 […]


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