The USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra Performs at the 2011 Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA.

Jazz Studies


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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Peter Erskine interviewed in KCET’s Artbound about film “Whiplash”

December 5, 2014

Hank Levy and Peter Erskine

Acclaimed drummer and Jazz Studies faculty Peter Erskine was interviewed in KCET’s Artbound about the recent film Whiplash that depicts the relationship between a young drummer (Miles Teller) and an intense band leader (J.K. Simmons). Erskine said: “…the big band chart titled Whiplash which serves as inspiration and background to… read more

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