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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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  • USC Thornton Symphony: Tchaikovsky's Fourth

    Carl St.Clair leads the USC Thornton Symphony in a theatrical and musical presentation of Tchaikovsky’s impassioned Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36. The emotional urgency of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36, is said to reflect the composer's struggles with health issues, a failed marriage, blackmail, his brother’s criminal activities, money problems, closeted homosexuality, and vicious rumors. In this performance, actors will bring Tchaikovsky's melodrama to vivid life with readings from his correspondences and program notes as the music unfolds. Presented by USC Visions and Voices; the Arts & Humanities Initiative. Admission is free. Reservations required. RSVP at the links below:. USC Students, Staff, and Faculty: RSVP USC Alumni: RSVP General Public: RSVP

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • Faculty Recital: Sarah Gibson & HOCKET

    Composition faculty member Sarah Gibson presents HOCKET, a piano-duo collaboration with alumnus Thomas Kotcheff, in a program featuring two world premieres by Thornton composers. The program will feature the premiere of a new work by faculty composer Donald Crockett, music by Stephen Hartke, and more.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • USC Thornton Symphony: Dance as Music

    Drawing inspiration from dance, Sharon Lavery conducts the USC Thornton Symphony in two works originally conceived as ballet: Stravinsky's Petrushka and Ravel's Boléro.

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra

    The USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra, led by Jason Goldman, presents a tribute to singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. The performance will feature original arrangements by Jazz Studies students and singers from Thornton's Jazz and Popular Music programs.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Faculty Recital: Antoinette Perry, Michele Zukovsky, James Walker & Ben Hong

    Pianist Antoinette Perry will be joined by faculty members Michele Zukovsky, clarinet, James Walker, flute, and Ben Hong, cello, in a wide-ranging chamber music recital. The program will include Beethoven's Bagatelles, Op. 119 for piano; Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Clarinet Sonata, Op. 28; Jon Kimura Parker's Pan Dreams for flute and piano; and Brahms' Clarinet Trio, Op. 114.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • 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 Harrison Birtwistle's Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum and Breakfast Rhythms by Joan Tower.

    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

    The program opens with Karel Husa's Smetana Fanfare and William Schuman's George Washington Bridge, followed by Vaughan Williams Folksong Suite, featuring a guest singer. In the second half of the program, the ensemble will perform Beethoven's Octet, 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)

  • news archive

    News

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    Harpist Katherine Redlus to perform with the Four Larks theater troupe

    August 26, 2016

    Harpist and USC Thornton Strings alumna Katherine Redlus (MM ‘16, harp performance) will perform with the musical theater troupe The Four Larks when their original production, The Temptation of St Antony, returns to the stage this month. Redlus performed in the production’s debut last year, which was featured in L.A.… read more

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