The USC Thornton strings department is a nationally distinguished top-tier program. Its eminent artist-teachers are distinguished in both individual instruction and coaching for chamber music. Exceptional standards of professionalism in performance and teaching have been upheld for more than a century by a faculty that has included Jascha Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky and William Primrose. Students studying strings will have the opportunity to participate in the varied, professional-level performance groups on campus, including the USC Thornton Symphony, the USC Thornton Chamber Orchestra and many prize-winning chamber ensembles.

more spotlights


event calendar

Upcoming events

  • Faculty Recital: Antoinette Perry, Michele Zukovsky, James Walker & Ben Hong

    Pianist Antoinette Perry will be joined by faculty members Michele Zukovsky, clarinet, James Walker, flute, and Ben Hong, cello, in a wide-ranging chamber music recital. The program will include Beethoven's Bagatelles, Op. 119 for piano; Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Clarinet Sonata, Op. 28; Jon Kimura Parker's Pan Dreams for flute and piano; and Brahms' Clarinet Trio, Op. 114.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Chamber Music Masterclass with Arnold Steinhardt

    Arnold Steinhardt, first violinist of the Guarneri Quartet, presents a chamber music masterclass.

    MacDonald Recital Hall (MUS)

  • Thornton Edge

    Donald Crockett leads the Thornton Edge new music ensemble in a program of contemporary works by distinguished British and American composers. The performance will feature Sean Friar's Short Winds, Harrison Birtwistle's Carmen arcadiae mechanicae perpetuum, Breakfast Rhythms I and II by Joan Tower, and Timo Andres' Trade Winds.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Baroque Sinfonia: In stile moderno

    Rotem Gilbert leads the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia in a program of virtuosic music from seventeenth-century Italy. The concert will feature virtuosic Italian music by Claudio Monteverdi, Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Barbara Strozzi, Luca Marenzio and Dario Castello, as well as a fiery Vivaldi bassoon concerto performed by Leah Kohn.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Violin Masterclass with Pamela Frank

    Award-winning violinist Pamela Frank leads a masterclass with some of the outstanding students of the Strings department. Frank currently holds the Herbert R. and Evelyn Axelrod Chair in Violin Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. This masterclass is presented in collaboration with Frank's husband, physiotherapist Howard Nelson.

    MacDonald Recital Hall (MUS)

  • USC Thornton Symphony: New Music for Orchestra

    Donald Crockett, chair of the Composition program, leads the USC Thornton Symphony in this annual concert featuring original works by student composers. Over the past 25 years, the New Music for Orchestra (NMO) event has premiered more than 125 compositions, often leading to professional commissions and international recognition.

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • Paderewski Lecture-Recital with Composer Elżbieta Sikora

    The Polish Music Center's flagship annual event will feature a celebration of Polish composer Elżbieta Sikora, including selections from her operatic and chamber music works. The lecture-recital will include Sikora's “Lamento” from her 2011 opera Madame Curie, String Quartet No. 3 - In memoriam Ursula, Solo for violin, and String Sextet. Preceding the performance, Sikora will speak about her compositional process.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Yo-Yo Ma & LACO Play Haydn and Brahms

    USC Thornton and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra present a collaborative performance featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Pianist, Keyboard Studies faculty member, and conductor Jeffrey Kahane leads the acclaimed ensemble in a performance of Brahms’ Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 99, and Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major with Yo-Yo Ma. Also on the program, Kahane is joined by fellow USC Thornton faculty and LACO musicians, violinist Margaret Batjer and cellist Andrew Shulman, in Haydn’s Trio No. 39 in G major, “Gypsy.”

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • PPP+ Strings Performance

    String students perform virtuosic solo works, including Paganini caprices, Ernst caprices, Popper etudes, Piatti caprices, and other showpieces. Students share these challenging works with each other in a friendly and social environment, followed by a reception.

    MacDonald Recital Hall (MUS)

  • LACO-Thornton Strings Mentorship Program: Mock Orchestral Audition

    The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO)-Thornton Strings Mentorship Program presents the Mock Orchestral Audition, providing the hands-on experience of a professional orchestra audition. True to the professional process, selected USC Thornton Strings students will play orchestral excerpts behind a screen for a panel of adjudicators including Jeffrey Kahane, music director of LACO; Armen Ksajikian, associate principal cello of LACO; and Josefina Vergara, principal second violin of LACO. At the conclusion of the audition, a special award may be given to an exceptional student at the discretion of the judges, giving them an opportunity to be mentored by a LACO principal musician and to perform as a substitute player during one week of the orchestra's 2016-17 concert season.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • USC Thornton Chamber Orchestra

    Carl St.Clair leads the USC Thornton Chamber Orchestra in works in which composers wrestle with profound emotions: Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 and Haydn’s lesser-known Symphony No. 49 in F minor "La passion."

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • 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)

  • more videos


    news archive



    Kaleidoscope 2016-17 season includes several Thornton premieres

    September 26, 2016

    The Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra has released plans for its 2016-17 season. Following an ambitious international call for scores, the ensemble will premiere works by USC Thornton alumni Saad Haddad (BM’14, composition), Patrick O’Malley (MM’15, composition), and Gernot Wolfgang (GCRT ’94, film scoring), as well as Thornton doctoral candidate, Julia Adolphe,… read more

    more news

    all ensembles


    all USC Thornton faculty