Classical_02_Header
Classical_03_Header
Symphony_03_Header

Classical Performance and Composition

USC Thornton’s Division of Classical Performance and Composition, ‘The Conservatory’, is built on a rich tradition of pairing legendary artist/faculty with extraordinary students of the highest caliber from across the globe.

Our acclaimed programs include Choral and Sacred Music, Classical Guitar, Composition, Keyboard Collaborative Arts, Keyboard Studies, Organ Studies, Strings, Vocal Arts and Opera, and Winds and Percussion.

ARTISTRY is what drives us. A world-class faculty with a passion for teaching, for true excellence and the cultivation of music in our society through the continued success and fulfillment of our students.

VISION is what guides us. The ability to recognize and anticipate the ever-changing landscape of classical music and the foresight to prepare our students for what lies ahead.

COMMUNITY is who we are. A rigorous conservatory of music, nestled within an elite research university in the musically vibrant city of Los Angeles, in which our students are mentored in an exceptionally close-knit environment and offered rich and unique opportunities for study.

“The Division of Classical Performance and Composition is essentially a rigorous conservatory of music, nestled within a prestigious research university, where students have amazing opportunities to explore a wide array of studies.  But we are more than a conservatory.  We are a strong and close-knit community where students are constantly encouraged to challenge themselves and to think outside the box. We recognize that, in order to be a truly great artist, one must thoroughly understand the culture and context of the music we perform.  And furthermore, we understand the constantly evolving landscape of classical music and have the foresight to prepare our students for what lies ahead.  In my estimation, there is no better place for such exploration and study than USC, where the arts are a proud centerpiece of the university.”

Lucinda Carver
Vice Dean
Classical Performance and Composition

event calendar

Upcoming events

[localist-calendar details_page="http://music.usc.edu/events/details/" distinct="true" get="events" group_id="7336" days="365" start="today" pp="12" template_multiple="slider block"]
  • Jazz Night

    Students from Thornton’s Jazz Studies department present an evening of contemporary jazz as part of an ongoing series. For parking & directions, visit: https://music.usc.edu/map/

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • Chamber Music Masterclass with Arnold Steinhardt

    Arnold Steinhardt, first violinist of the Guarneri Quartet, presents a chamber music masterclass.

    MacDonald Recital Hall (MUS)

  • Thornton Edge

    Donald Crockett leads the Thornton Edge new music ensemble in a program of contemporary works by distinguished British and American composers. The performance will feature Sean Friar's Short Winds, Harrison Birtwistle's Carmen arcadiae mechanicae perpetuum, Breakfast Rhythms I and II by Joan Tower, and Timo Andres' Trade Winds.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Jazz Night featuring the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra

    Music director Bob Mintzer and the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra headline this ongoing contemporary jazz series.

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • Faculty Recital: Cherry Rhodes with Ladd Thomas & Douglas Masek

    Organ Department faculty member Cherry Rhodes performs a recital at Los Angeles' iconic downtown cathedral with guest artists Ladd Thomas and Douglas Masek. The program will feature the world premiere of Fr. Joseph Walter's Chorale, Diferencias and Glosas on Puer Natus in Bethlehem, Olivier Messiaen's Combat of Life and Death, and Rayner Brown's Sonata for Organ Duet, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone and Clarinet featuring USC Thornton faculty organists Cherry Rhodes and Ladd Thomas and saxophonist/clarinetist Douglas Masek.

    Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

  • USC Thornton Wind Ensemble

    H. Robert Reynolds and Sharon Lavery lead the Wind Ensemble in a program of classic repertoire, from Ludwig van Beethoven to Ralph Vaughan Williams. The program opens with Karel Husa's Smetana Fanfare, and William Schuman's George Washington Bridge, followed by Vaughan Williams English Folksong Suite, featuring soloist Katherine Beck. Beethoven's Wind Octet in E-flat major, op. 103 brings up the second half, followed by Paul Dooley's Mavericks, and Hindemith's “March" from Symphonic Metamorphosis.

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • Baroque Sinfonia: In stile moderno

    Rotem Gilbert leads the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia in a program of virtuosic music from seventeenth-century Italy. The concert will feature virtuosic Italian music by Claudio Monteverdi, Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Barbara Strozzi, Luca Marenzio and Dario Castello, as well as a fiery Vivaldi bassoon concerto performed by Leah Kohn.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Jazz Honors Combo

    The Jazz Honors Combo, a select group of USC Thornton jazz musicians led by Jason Goldman, presents an evening of original compositions for sextet.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Music@RushHour - Polish Music Spotlight

    In this co-production with Polish Music Center, student artists will spotlight the best of Polish music for the Music@Rush Hour audience.

    Ramo Recital Hall (BMH)

  • Violin Masterclass with Pamela Frank

    Award-winning violinist Pamela Frank leads a masterclass with some of the outstanding students of the Strings department. Frank currently holds the Herbert R. and Evelyn Axelrod Chair in Violin Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. This masterclass is presented in collaboration with Frank's husband, physiotherapist Howard Nelson.

    MacDonald Recital Hall (MUS)

  • Popular Music: First-Year Showcase

    Led by professor Andy Abad and Program Chair Patrice Rushen, first-year Popular Music program students explore the foundations of their craft, culminating in exciting and true-to-form performances. Come see Popular Music students perform as part of what Rolling Stone calls “the cutting-edge department that’s become the site of one of Los Angeles’ most productive new music scenes.”

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • USC Thornton Symphony: New Music for Orchestra

    Donald Crockett, chair of the Composition program, leads the USC Thornton Symphony in this annual concert featuring original works by student composers. Over the past 25 years, the New Music for Orchestra (NMO) event has premiered more than 125 compositions, often leading to professional commissions and international recognition.

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • news archive

    News

    JuliaNewmann_240

    Alumna Julia Newmann’s “Bones Orchestral Suite” performed live

    September 28, 2016

    A work by Composition alumna Julia Newmann (BM ’03) was recently performed by a 55-piece orchestra as part of “The Women Who Score: Soundtracks Live.” A collaboration between Grand Performances and The Alliance for Women Film Composers, the event was a celebration of 21 film, television, and videogame scores by… read more

    more news