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

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  • Musician's Wellness Initiative: Good Vibrations

    Emmy Award-winning composer and faculty member Richard Wolf presents a talk about mindfulness and meditation for musicians.

    USC Brain and Creativity Institute's Joyce J. Cammilleri Hall (BCI)

  • Music@RushHour: Oriana & Apollo

    The talented singers of the Oriana Women’s Choir and the Apollo Men’s Chorus present an hour of exquisite choral music by Puccini, Runestad, and Dr. Nick Strimple. Skip the traffic and enjoy an hour of extraordinary USC Thornton talent with Music@RushHour. After the concert, stick around for free refreshments!

    Ramo Recital Hall (BMH)

  • New Jazz Showcase

    The Division of Contemporary Music presents an evening showcasing the new jazz sound evolving at USC Thornton, featuring original tunes written, arranged and performed by students.

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • Solo Bach Competition

    A panel of distinguished guest adjudicators will hear finalists from the Strings program perform complete sonatas, partitas and suites by Johann Sebastian Bach.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • USC Thornton Wind Ensemble: Made in America

    H. Robert Reynolds and Sharon Lavery lead the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble in a celebration of American composers, featuring faculty member James Walker in David Mairs' American Flute Salute. Other pieces include Morton Gould’s American Salute, Mason Bates’ Mothership, Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, Darius Milhaud’s La création du monde (Creation of the World), and Seep by Thornton student Stephen Cabell, winner of the Student Wind Ensemble Composition Contest. Program: Morton Gould – American Salute Stephen Cabell – Seep (winner of the Student Wind Ensemble Composition Contest) David Mairs - American Flute Salute (featuring James Walker, flute) Mason Bates – Mothership Leonard Bernstein – Prelude, Fugue and Riffs Darius Milhaud – La création du monde (Creation of the World)

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • The Met in HD: Verdi's “La Traviata”

    The USC School of Cinematic Arts hosts a broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera of Verdi's La Traviata. A pre-opera discussion, hosted by the USC Thornton School of Music, begins at 12:00 PM and a delayed satellite broadcast follows at 1:00 PM. Sonya Yoncheva sings one of opera's most beloved heroines, the tragic courtesan Violetta, opposite Michael Fabiano as her lover, Alfredo, and Thomas Hampson as his father. Nicola Luisotti conducts. Opera running time: 2 hours, 55 minutes. In Italian, with English subtitles. Presented by USC Visions and Voices; the Arts & Humanities Initiative.

    Norris Cinema Theatre (NCT)

  • JazzReach Concert

    Young student jazz ensembles from the Los Angeles community perform as part of the USC Thornton Community Engagement Programs, funded in part by the USC Good Neighbors Campaign. Reception: 6:00 PM Concert: 7:00 PM ADMISSION: $5 at the door. Children under 10 are admitted free.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • ALAJE

    Led by Aaron Serfaty, the USC Thornton Afro-Latin American Jazz Ensemble (ALAJE) presents an evening of jazz standards reinvented with a focus on the rhythmic traditions of Brazil and Cuba.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Music@RushHour: Solo Piano

    “One” is the lyrical number when pianists from Thornton explore repertoire for solo piano. Skip the traffic and enjoy an hour of extraordinary USC Thornton talent with Music@RushHour. After the concert, stick around for free refreshments!

    Ramo Recital Hall (BMH)

  • Jazz Night featuring the Jazz Honors Combo

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

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • Concert Choir: Music of Our Time

    The Concert Choir celebrates the music of renowned composers from around the globe with a unique collaboration. In preparation for the performance, each composer featured will interact with the ensemble in person, via Skype, or by recording. The concert features work from USC Thornton faculty members Morten Lauridsen and Frank Ticheli, as well as Nilo Alcala (Philippines), Alberto Grau (Venezuela), Randol Alan Bass (USA), Sarah Hopkins (Australia), Hyo Won Woo (Korea), Eric Whitacre (USA), Leo Brouwer (Cuba), and Robert Applebaum (England).

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Apollo Men's Chorus & Oriana Women's Choir: Kaleidoscope

    The Oriana Women's Choir and Apollo Men's Chorus present an evening of choral works by composers from a range of historical periods, including compositions by USC Thornton faculty member Nick Strimple. The evening's performance will also include a collaboration between chorus and string quintet, comprised of select players from the Thornton's Strings program.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

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