Composition

Overview

The composers on the USC Thornton faculty are outstanding members of the international musical community, with major commissions, awards, recordings and residencies among the faculty’s many accolades. Composition students, among the finest in the country, regularly win national awards and commissions, including: ASCAP and BMI awards, New York Symphony Orchestra First Music commissions, Aspen fellowships, American Composers Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra reading sessions, among many others.

The Composition department emphasizes performance opportunities for student composers. Student works are premiered at Contemporary Music Ensemble concerts, student recitals, and at the annual New Music for Orchestra concert – an event which has premiered over 200 USC Thornton student orchestral works. The USC Thornton choruses, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and chamber music program provide composition students with significant reading and performance opportunities.

Our department’s curriculum offers thorough training in composition, musicianship, theory, analysis, orchestration and counterpoint. Electives in electronic and computer music are also available. Students who successfully complete our BM degree are guaranteed acceptance into the graduate certificate program in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television.

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Upcoming events

  • “Hopscotch” in Concert

    USC celebrates Hopscotch, the world's first mobile opera and one of the most talked-about cultural events of 2015, with a live performance of songs from the groundbreaking work, marking the release of the official cast recording and interactive website. Organized by Sasha Anawalt, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Hosted by Yuval Sharon, artistic director of The Industry, the concert will feature music by composers Veronika Krausas, Mark Lowenstein, Andrew McIntosh, Andrew Norman, Ellen Reid, and David Rosenboom, followed by a post-show reception with members of the creative team, renowned arts journalists, and many of the 20+ Thornton students, faculty, and alumni who were involved in the internationally acclaimed project. A pre-concert discussion at 4:00 PM, What Does Hopscotch Sound Like?, in Wallis Annenberg Hall, Room L105A, will feature a panel including composer and USC Thornton faculty member Veronika Krausas, composer Marc Lowenstein, director Yuval Sharon, and arts journalist Mark Swed. Sasha Anawalt of the USC Annenberg School of Communication will moderate. 4:00 PM - Pre-Concert Discussion, What Does Hopscotch Sound Like? - Wallis Annenberg Hall, Room L105A 7:30 PM - Hopscotch in Concert - Newman Recital Hall Presented by USC Visions and Voices; the Arts & Humanities Initiative.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Electro-Acoustic Showcase

    The Composition department presents the annual electro-acoustic showcase, led by DMA student Eric Pham, featuring works by student composers that combine electronic instruments and signal processing with acoustic instruments

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Thornton Edge

    Thornton Edge presents a program featuring two concertos—one for violin and large Ensemble by Daniel Temkin and a concerto for viola and six instruments by Donald Crockett, to airy thinness beat—as well as Jeffrey Holmes' virtuosic microtonal work for nine players, Hagall.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Paul Dresher and the Dresher/Davel Instrument Duo

    Composer and musician Paul Dresher and percussionist Joel Davel join forces for an electro-acoustic performance on extraordinary instruments of their own invention. Dresher and Davel will create otherworldly music on the four-stringed, fifteen-foot-long quadrachord, the seven-stringed, 10-foot-long hurdy grande, and electronic-music pioneer Don Buchla’s magical Marimba Lumina. Following the concert, Dresher will present a short talk about his instruments and invite the audience to come onstage and try them out for themselves. Organized by Karen Koblitz from the USC Roski School of Art and Design and Veronika Krausas from the USC Thornton School of Music, the performance is presented in conjunction with Sound Maze, an exhibition of Dresher's instruments on display at the USC Fisher Museum of Art from March 3 through 8. Presented by USC Visions and Voices; the Arts & Humanities Initiative.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Composition Showcase

    The Composition department presents two concerts featuring new solo, chamber, and vocal works by student composers. The celebrated program has included Pulitzer Prize finalists and major award winners among its recent alumni. The first program will take place at 3:00 PM and the second at 7:00 PM.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Thornton Edge

    Donald Crockett leads Thornton Edge, Thornton’s new music group, in a program of modern works for large ensemble.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)


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    Vincent Ho appointed music advisor for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

    January 9, 2017

    USC Thornton Composition alumnus Vincent Ho (DMA ’05) has been named music advisor for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. As the advisor, he will consult with members of the orchestra’s planning team to discuss the new music repertoire. Paul Dornian, President and CEO of the of the orchestra, noted that “Vincent… read more

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