Student Accomplishments

Classical Performance and Composition

Victor Alsen (MM, ’15) and Andrew Sandwick (BM, ’14) were awarded in the Pasadena Instrumental Competition. Alsen won the grand prize, while Sandwick won first prize in the woodwind category.

Christopher Bartz (DMA, ’13) placed third in the MTNA National Music Competition.

Melody Chang (MM, ’13) was awarded First Prize and the Chinese Work Award at the Third Hong Kong International Violin Competition.

Emily Cooley (MM, ’14) won $1000 and second prize in the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee’s 2012 Young Composer Competition. Open to composers aged 25 or younger, the competition was for a 6 to 8-minute classical chamber music work for three to six instruments. Cooley’s entry, entitled Variations on a Theme from “Wit”, was scored for violin, cello, and piano.

Jonathan Dormand (GCRT, ’14) was the fourth prize winner of the Isang Yun International Cello Competition. He was awarded prize money and performed the Prokofiev Sonata in the prize-winner’s concert.

Composition student Georgi Dimitrov (MM, ’14) was awarded with the Graduate Arts Award by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The award provides individuals who display exceptional creative or artistic talent with a scholarship to be put toward graduate studies.

Christopher Garwood (BM, ’15) won First Prize in the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition and the Young Artist Scholarship Competition.

Sean Gehricke (MM, ’12) played in the first national tour of Elf, The Musical.

Arnold Geis (MM, ’14) and Courtney Taylor (GCRT, ’13) performed with the Los Angeles Opera Chorus in the LA Opera’s production of Wagner’s “Der Fliegende Holländer.”

Hans Kristian Goldstein (center) won first prize at the 2013 Schmidbauer International Young Artist Competition in Texas

Hans Kristian Goldstein (center) won first prize at the 2013 Schmidbauer International Young Artist Competition in Texas

Hans Kristian Goldstein (MM, ’15) won the Schmidbauer International Competition for Strings in Nacodoches, Texas. The prize included a cash award, a performance with Orchestra of the Pines, and a solo recital at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Timothy Gonzalez  (MM, ’13), Callista Hoffman (MM, ’10), and Jon Lee Keenan (MM, ’09; DMA, ’13) performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by music director and alumni Grant Gershon and Leslie Leighton. Gonzalez and Hoffman performed at the Messiah Sing-Along, while Keenan performed Handel’s Messia.

Guk Hui Han (DMA, ’14) and Alina Roitstein (MM, ’14) participated in the finals of the Wigmore Hall Song Competition finals in London. Out of 170 applicants, Han and Roitstein were among the 26 accepted.

Andrew Harrison (DMA) won the Sigma Alpha Iota Pasadena Music Scholarship Competition.

Ben Hopkins (BM, ’12) was chosen to perform the 1st movement of Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 with at the Valencia International Piano Academy in Valencia, Spain.

Keri Hui (BM, ’15) won first place in the Antelope Valley Symphony Concerto Competition for her performance of Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto,

Shabnam Kalbasi (MM, ’12) won first place and the “Artist of the Year” award in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Young Artist Competition. Kalbasi was awarded cash plus a professional recital. She also won the Brentwood-Westwood Symphony Orchestra Competition, and was the only singer to win. Included in her win was a concert with the Symphony Orchestra in its 60th season.

Michael Kaufman (DMA, ’14) was awarded the USC Thornton Performance and Presentation Award. Assessed for both performance and oral presentation skills, the winners are given a very unique opportunity to perform public recitals while sharing with the audience varied information regarding the repertoire. Kaufman performed his recital at the Richard Nixon Library.

Four members of USC Thornton’s Contemporary Music Ensemble were chosen to participate in Carnegie Hall’s competitive professional training workshop, featuring composer John Adams and conductor David Robertson. Representatives included students Eric Jacobs (DMA), Michael Kaufman (DMA, ’14), Clara Kim (DMA, ’14), and Ben Phelps (DMA, ’10).

Vimbayi Kaziboni will take his talents to Uzbekistan in 2014 as a part of the internationally renown Fulbright Program.

Vimbayi Kaziboni will take his talents to Uzbekistan in 2014 as a part of the internationally renown Fulbright Program.

Vimbayi Kaziboni (BM, ’10) was awarded a Fullbright Award and will spend 2014 in Uzbekistan. He also was one of a handful of conductors chosen internationally for “The 21st Century American Contemporary Ensemble Workshop” at Carnegie Hall, where he worked with John Adams and David Robertson.

Ohtae Kwon (GCRT, ’13) received a job at Chongshin University (Korean University) as a department chair.

Jason Lo (DMA, ’16) won his division of the solo piano competition for the Music Teachers’ Association of California for the entire state.

Yoshi Masuda (DMA) was awarded the first prize and the John Hopkins Memorial Award at the Australian Concerto & Vocal Competition. Masuda won prize money and a concerto and recital tour in Australia. He also won the strings division and came in second place overall at the 40th National Young Artist Competition, hosted by the Midland Symphony Guild, in Texas.

Vocal arts major Quinn Middleman (BM, ’14) made her professional debut with renowned composer Jake Heggie and international flutest Wincenc in San Francisco. The performance also received a positive review from the San Francisco Classical Voice.

Matthew Miles (MM, ’12) performed with the Cleveland Opera Circle as Count Almaviva in a production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Arisa Ogino performing Mendelsohnn Piano Concerto in G minor with the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra.

Arisa Ogino performing Mendelsohnn Piano Concerto in G minor with the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra.

Arisa Ogino (BM, ’16) won first prize in the Bellflower Concerto Competition and performed the Mendelsohnn Piano Concerto in G minor with the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra. She also won first prize in the Well Tempered Clavier Book II division of the Bach Complete Works Competition.

Jeffrey Parola (DMA, ’15) won the 2012 EAMA (European American Musical Alliance) Prize for his orchestral piece, The Long Valley. The EAMA Prize is awarded to a musical composition of profound artistic message, possessing a unique musical voice, and demonstrating clear, direct power of communication.

Jules Pegram (BM, ’13) was named the winner of the Marilyn Glick Young Composers Competition. Each of the 11 top music composition programs at schools nationwide were asked to submit one student composition, and Pegram’s work, “Neon Nights,” was named the winning entry. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performed the work on three subscription-series. Pegram was also asked to participate in educational outreach programs throughout the week of rehearsals.

Evan Pensis (BM, ’16) won First Place at the Redlands Bowl Young Artist Competition and performed as a featured soloist at the Redlands Music Festival on July 2nd at the Redlands Bowl. He also won first prize in the Instrumental Division of the VS A-Kennedy Center California Young Artist Competition and performed at the VSA Festival at the Main Place Mall, in Santa Ana.

Alina Roitstein (MM, ’14) performed, with the Toomai String Quintet, in New York on the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series to a sold out audience. A recording contract will yield a CD release of this performance and other songs.

Tomomi Sato took top honors in the California MTNA Competition.

Tomomi Sato took top honors in the California MTNA Competition.

Frédéric Rosselet (DMA, ’15) was named as a nominee for the Violoncello Foundation (VCF) Listeners’ Choice Award, following a public nomination round.

Tomomi Sato (BM, ’15) was named the winner of the California MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) Competition’s “Senior Performance.” As a result, she will represent the state of California at the Southwest Regional Competition in Utah. Sato also attended the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Conference, participating in a masterclass at the Disneyland Hotel.

Jason Saunders (MM, ’14) was selected as a finalist for the 10th Annual Competition for Young Composers. As a finalist, Jason was commissioned to compose an original work to be premiered by YNYC at their June 2014 concert.

Kyle Shafiee (BM, ’12; MM, ’14) performed the Mozart Piano Concerto in d minor in Valencia, Spain with the VIPA Festival Orchestra.

Alexander Sinchuk performing during the European Piano Nights Piano Competition in Luxembourg.

Alexander Sinchuk performing during the European Piano Nights Piano Competition in Luxembourg.

Rachel Siegal (MM, ’13) won a position with the President’s Own Marine Band in Washington, D.C.

Alexander Sinchuk (GCRT, ’14) won first prize in the European Piano Nights Piano Competition in Luxembourg, and the Recontre International des Jeunes Pianists in Switzerland. He won second prize in the Morocco Philarmony International Piano Competition.

Courtney Taylor (GCRT, ’13) performed with the Los Angeles Opera Chorus in the LA Opera’s production of Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer.

Peter Walsh (BM, ’07; MM, ’09, DMA) was one of five pianists chosen nationwide for “The Song Continues” program at Carnegie Hall, where he was coached by Marilyn Horne, Jessye Norman and Dalton Baldwin.

Weicheng Zhao was winner of the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition's first-ever organ prize.

Weicheng Zhao was winner of the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition’s first-ever organ prize.

Grant Yosenick (BM, ’16) recently claimed the grand prize of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra’s “OC Can You Sing” competition, securing a solo spot in a Pacific Symphony pops concert and vocal coaching with Broadway veteran Lisa Vroman. He also performed as a finalist with the Pacific Symphony as part of their Valentine’s program, featuring Kenny G, at the Segerstrom Center for Performing Arts.

Weicheng Zhao (MM, ’14) won first prize in the organ division of the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition.

Qi Zhang’s (DMA, ’14) Symphony in the Teapot, which was inspired by the history and culture of Chinese tea, was published by Edition Schott. This is the first time that this publisher has released an organ work by a Chinese composer.

 

Contemporary Music

Malia Civetz (BM, ’16) sung the National Anthem at the Staples Center for the LA Kings on March 7, 2012, and again on March 22, 2012, for the LA Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. She also sung for the season openers for the Dodgers and Angels.

Brandon Combs (BM, ’15) and Devon Eisenbarger (BM, ’14) performed with recording artist Keith Urban during the American Country Awards.

Rozzi Crane (BM) was the first artist signed to 222 Records, a label operated by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. She joined Kelly Clarkson as the opening act on Maroon 5′s summer 2013 tour.

Popular Music student Suemy Gonzales (BM, ’13) and her group Trio Ellas received a 2012 Latin GRAMMY nomination for the album Con UstedeS…Trio Ellas. The band, along with popular music faculty Andy Abad, also backed indie singer-songwriter Ben Gibbard on Conan.

Reggie Grisham (MM, ’11) and J.G. Miller (DMA, ’13) performed with the legendary rock band The Who, in Montreal. Footage of the performance can be viewed here.

Jose Gurria (DMA, ’13) won the Jazz Educators Network (JEN) Composition Competition. Gurria’s composition was performed and acknowledged at the annual JEN congress during the first week of January 2013, in Atlanta.

Barry Harris (BM, ’13) was appointed to serve as the musical director for GRAMMY Foundation’s GRAMMY Camp Alumni band for a second consecutive year. The band features 11 GRAMMY Camp alumni who are currently students at USC Thornton.

Lara Johnston's songs “K.I.S.S. and “Here At The End Of The World” were chosen from over 20,000 entries as finalists in the famed International Songwriting Competition. K.I.S.S. went on to win first place in the Adult Contemporary division.

Lara Johnston’s songs “K.I.S.S. and “Here At The End Of The World” were chosen from over 20,000 entries as finalists in the famed International Songwriting Competition. K.I.S.S. went on to win first place in the Adult Contemporary division.


Lara Johnston (BM, ’13) won 1st place in the Adult Contemporary category of the International Songwriting Competition.

The Anthony Lucca Quintet, a collective of Thornton students Daniel Fox (bm, ’15), Anthony Lucca(BM, ’15), Ryan McDiarmid (BM, ’15), Aneesa Al-Mussawwir (BM, ’14), and Rob Sheppard (BM, ’15) won the Angel City Jazz Festival’s young artist competition. The quintet performed at the festival at LACMA.

Jackson Morgan (BM, ’15) contributed songs to albums from popular performing artists Pitbull and Nicole Scherzinger.

Shane Nickels (GCRT, ’13) won a snare drum position with The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps in Washington, D.C.

Ashley Chanel Sirls (far right) being awarded the 2013 Charles Dolo Coker Scholarship.

Ashley Chanel Sirls (far right) being awarded the 2013 Charles Dolo Coker Scholarship.

Ashley Chanel Sirls (BM, ’16) was awarded a Charles Dolo Coker Scholarship, named after highly-regarded Xanadu recording star and major jazz artist. The Charles Dolo Coker Scholarship Foundation Inc. provides assistance to students in the form of substantial monetary awards for competition winners, music lessons, purchasing and gifting needed musical instruments, and professional critique and guidance from established jazz musicians in the music industry.

Luke Walton (BM, ’13) and Brandon Woodward (BM, ’14) and their band Exist Elsewhere won a competition to perform at the MacWorld/iWorld Indie Innovation Conference in San Francisco where they competed against another finalist.

Scholarly and Professional Studies

Lisa Crawford (DMA, ’15) was selected to present at the 2013 California All State Music Educators Conference in Fresno. Her session was titled “Improvisation and Composing Opportunities in the K-12 Music Classroom.”

Coreen Duffy‘s (DMA) article, “So Wild and Strange a Harmony,” was published in the April 2013 issue of the Choral Journal.

Huei-Yuan Pan’s (DMA) abstract submission, “Music and Aging: A literature review,” was accepted for presentation at the 2013 National Association for Music Education Northwest Division Conference.  Pan traveled to Oregon to present his poster, which addressed the effects of prior musical skill acquisition on cognitive function in advanced stages of life and therapeutic and educational musical practices with implications for improvements in the quality of life of aging populations. Eun Cho (music education) and Lisa Crawford (music education) were also accepted to present.

Robert Shetland (DMA) was a conference presenter for the 2013 Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association/National Association of Music Merchants Conference. His session was titled, “The Unfinished Symphony: Teaching Music to Students with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) / Special Needs.”