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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James Horner

Houston Symphony premieres concerto by late composer, alumnus James Horner

April 25, 2016

The work of the late film composer and USC Thornton alumnus James Horner (BM ’74, composition) was honored by the Houston Symphony earlier this month. The Symphony, under conductor Michael Francis, presented the premiere of Horner’s last completed concert work, which was performed by the orchestra and four French horn… read more

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