Jazz Studies

Overview

As one of the first free-standing jazz studies departments in the nation, the USC Thornton School was a pioneer in the development of an academic curriculum dedicated to the one true American musical art form. With a world-renown faculty, the Jazz Studies department prepares young musicians for success in the professional performance arena. Recent graduates have assumed prominent roles in jazz and popular music across the nation. The USC Thornton Jazz Studies department consistently ranks in the top three to four in the nation in major jazz periodicals.

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Spotlights

event calendar

Upcoming events

  • 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)

  • 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)

  • 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)

  • Studio/Jazz Guitar Ensemble Showcase

    Thornton's Studio/Jazz Guitar program presents its guitar ensembles in an annual showcase.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Jazz Night featuring the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra

    The USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, led by music director Bob Mintzer, presents an evening of standards and original compositions as part of an ongoing series of contemporary jazz.

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • Jazz Night featuring Non-Major Combos

    Students enrolled in Thornton's elective courses or earning Minors in Jazz Studies present an evening of contemporary jazz as part of an ongoing series.

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • Jazz Night featuring CreSCendo

    The CreSCendo Vocal Jazz Ensemble, led by Sara Gazarek, headlines this ongoing series of contemporary jazz.

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)


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    Videos


    news archive

    News

    Peter Erskine quoted in LA Times article about “La La Land”

    March 24, 2017

    Peter Erskine, legendary jazz drummer and director of Drumset Studies at USC Thornton, was recently featured in a Los Angeles Times article about his work as a session musician for the award-winning film, La La Land. The film explores a musician’s crisis of conscience about performing music simply to earn… read more

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