Student Accomplishments

Spring 2014

Classical Performance and Composition

Classical Guitar student Ines Thomé (GCRT ’15) won First Prize in the Walnut Creek Guitar Competition. The prize includes engagements for a four-concert tour in 2015.

Choral and Sacred Music student Jason Saunders (MM ’14) was commissioned by the  Cannon Beach Chorus in Cannon Beach, Oregon to compose a work celebrating the choir’s 25th Anniversary season. The chorus premiered the work at their concerts on May 2 and 3.

Chamber ensemble Pico Winds, consisting of Thornton students Kat Standefer (flute), Rachel van Amburgh (oboe), Angelo Quail  (clarinet), Brittany Seits (bassoon), and Erika Miras (horn), advanced to the finals of the Coleman Chamber Music Competition.

Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television student Aidan Rowe was awarded a full scholarship to attend the two-week NYU/ASCAP Filmscoring Workshop at New York University in June.

Alison Maggart (PhD ’15) was awarded one of USC’s Endowed Arnold Fellowships for 2014-2015.

Regina Ngo (BA ’15) won the piano division of the Sigma Alpha Iota Competition. Her reward included a $1,000 scholarship and a winner’s performance.

Sam Kinsey (BM, ’16) won the MTAC (Music Teachers’ Association of California) Concerto Competition’s Southern California round for the College Division, playing Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand. Kinsey will now compete in the final round at the MTAC Convention in June.

Ashley Hoe (BM ‘15) won the MTAC (Music Teachers’ Association of California) Solo Competition in the Southern California round. She also took First Place in the Coeur D’Alene Young Artists Concerto Competition and was a finalist in the Lennox Young Artists Competition with the Richardson Symphony.

Evan Pensis (BM ’16) took Second Place at the Susan Torres International Piano Competition in Fresno, CA. In addition, he won the Grand Prize at the 9th International Siegfried Weishaupt Piano Competition 2013 in Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany. He was also distinguished with the Audience Award for his recital.

Emily Peterson (BM ’17) tied for First Place in the first round of the Classical Singer voice competition at Pepperdine University.

Piano student Jason Lo (DMA ’16) was recently invited by the Cerritos High School Wind Symphony to perform the 3rd movement of the Piano Concerto by Edward Gregson, at Carnegie Hall, on April 23.

Keyboard studies students Tomomi Sato (BM ’15), Vijay Venkatesh (BM ’17), and Nicole Wakabayashi (BM ’14) were all winners at the Pasadena Fine Arts Club’s scholarship competition for piano.

Classical Guitar student Michael Gratovich (MM ’14) won First Prize in the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Competition. The prize includes a recital at the 2015 Philadelphia Festival where faculty William Kanengiser will also perform.

Broadway World highlighted strings student Kenneth Liao (BM ’15), who performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra on April 26 and April 27, after winning the opportunity through the LACO-Thornton Strings Mentorship Program in a 2013 mock orchestral audition for strings. He performed as part of LACO’s first violin section and was mentored for this opportunity by LACO Concertmaster and string faculty Margaret Batjer.

Daniel Temkin, doctoral student in Strings, was selected as an alternative for the SCI/ASCP Student Commissioning Competition.

Composition student Jeffrey Parola (DMA ’15)  received his first major commission from the Atlantic Classical Orchestra (ACO) to write a piece for solo clarinet and chamber orchestra. The world premiere performances of the work took place on March 6 & 7 in Palm Beach and Vero Beach, Florida.

Jenny Ching Yee Wong (DMA) was selected as one of 6-8 conductors worldwide to attend the prestigious Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene, Oregon this summer. For three weeks, Jenny will be studying four major Bach choral-orchestral works and more with Helmuth Rilling and new artistic director Matthew Halls. Jenny will conduct the Festival Orchestra, choruses and soloists in concert in the Discovery Series as well as the Conductors Showcase.

Clarinet student Ran Kampel (MM ’12, GCRT) recently earned the principal clarinet position with the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Joe Morris (BM ’12) was named the new principal clarinet of the Madison, Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. Andy Cho (MM ’12, GCRT) and Stefan van Sandt (GCRT ’15) were all in the final round for the position.

The USC Bass Tuba Quartet — consisting of Thornton students Brandon Davis (DMA), Danny Garcia (MM ’14), Charlie Mann (MM ’15), and Michael Murrin (BM ’14) — has been chosen for the competition at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference at Indiana University in May. In addition, the entire class of six—the USC Thornton Tubas—has a featured evening concert at ITEC, which will include premieres by James Grant and Brandon Davis.

Contemporary Music

This summer, Popular Music student Lilliana de los Reyes (BM ’15) will be the featured vocalist and percussionist in George Benson’s band. The band will be playing at the Hollywood Bowl on June 15.

Saxophonist Teodross Avery, a doctoral student in Jazz Studies, was featured in the International Musician, where he spoke on his upbringing, musical influences and how he built and maintained a professional career as a student. Avery has worked with Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Shakira, Leela James, and Joss Stone.

Popular Music sophomore Malia Civetz (BM ’16) recently performed at the Dream Foundation Gala in Santa Barbara honoring Barry Manilow with its Humanitarian Award.