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.

more spotlights


event calendar

Upcoming events

  • USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra tribute to Drummer Roy McCurdy

    Bob Minzter leads the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra in a tribute to legendary drummer and USC Thornton faculty member Roy McCurdy, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Roy McCurdy has enjoyed an illustrious career, performing with Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, and Benny Golson. This USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra tribute concert will feature arrangements of signature tunes associated with McCurdy's tenure, arranged by Jazz Studies students and his long-time collaborators. Following the concert, music director Bob Mintzer will host a Q&A with McCurdy.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Jazz Night featuring Jazz Honors Combo

    Jason Goldman and the Jazz Honors Combo celebrate noted trumpeter, composer and alumnus John Daversa (DMA ’09, jazz), in a tribute to his music.

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • New Jazz Showcase

    USC Thornton 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 - The USC Thornton Afro-Latin American Jazz Ensemble

    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 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)

  • more videos


    news archive



    Jazz Studies alumni contribute tips for a successful music career

    September 22, 2016

    USC Thornton alumna Amber Navran (BM ’12, jazz studies) has contributed to a feature article on that presents jazz majors with advice for building a music career after college. Navaran suggests that it’s important to stay positive, to support peers in the music industry, and to be open to… read more

    more news

    all ensembles


    all USC Thornton faculty