2017-18 Viewbook

At the USC Thornton School of Music, we celebrate our location in Los Angeles, the nation’s center for creativity and innovation. As the music profession changes, we are at the forefront of a forward-thinking educational model that prepares students for careers at the highest level as performers, composers, educators and industry leaders.

Explore stories from our Divisions of Classical Performance & Composition, Contemporary Music, and Scholarly & Professional Studies below.

LOS ANGELES: ALL THE CITY’S A STAGE • Part of a growing trend, students across USC Thornton’s Classical Music & Composition division are forming new chamber ensembles and commissioning their classmates, professors and alumni to create and premiere original works across Los Angeles. READ MORE >

One Composer, Two Philharmonic Premieres

Lightning strikes twice for doctoral composition student Julia Adolphe.

Hitting the Streets of Los Angeles

A groundbreaking mobile opera features USC Thornton faculty, alumni and students.

A Day in the Life of a Classical Guitarist

Have guitar, will tour internationally – a video profile of student Mak Grgić.

Bringing Music Behind Bars

Evan Pensis, a senior in the Keyboard Studies department, brought music to inmates at an Arizona State Prison.

We Heard Her Here, First

Soprano Yelena Dyachek ’16 was selected as a winner at the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Melting the Borders Between Film, Animation and Music

The USC Thornton Symphony and conductor Carl St.Clair hit the road for a multimedia performance.

Why is this Man in a Red Sweater and Sunglasses Singing on Campus?

Students from the Choral & Sacred Music department turned into a flash mob.

Piatigorsky International Cello Festival Returns to USC

A Who’s Who of cellists spent 10 days on campus, and 109 of them performed on one stage at Disney Hall.

Student is Loaned Two Legendary Violins

A student of Midori Goto won an international competition and suddenly had a Stradivarius and a Guarneri.

A Springtime Celebration of Composer Morten Lauridsen

The National Medal of Arts winner reflected on his career in 10 short videos.

“If you monitor the New York arts press, you will quickly understand that Los Angeles is hot. The coast-to-coast current has changed course: young painters, writers and musicians are flocking here.”
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times music critic
PLAYING THE STAGE OF LEGENDS • Some musicians go their whole lives without playing the Troubadour, the legendary West Hollywood hall of rock, but every spring seniors in the Popular Music program perform their original music on the same stage where Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, Elton John, Carole King and hudreds of others have played. READ MORE >

Digital Music Making in His Dorm Room

Freshman Tom Carpenter is thriving in the new Music Production degree program.

The Art of the Musical Director

When Karina DePiano came to USC, she didn’t know what a musical director was. Luckily, she enrolled in the Popular Music program.

Laying Down Tracks in Capitol Records Studio A

Thornton students recorded in the same studio where as Sinatra, McCartney and Neil Young.

EDM Extravaganzas Start Here

Production Club is a design and logistics firm founded by USC alumni.

Assignment: Write Your Own Jazz

Peek into any rehearsal room in the Jazz Studies program and you will hear something you’ve never heard before.

Ben Bram and Scott Hoying Win Second GRAMMY Awards with Pentatonix

Alum Bram is the arranger for the group, which includes former student Hoying.

Drummer Ana Barreiro ’15 Uses Jazz to Spotlight Sexual Violence Against Women in Africa

She rounded up USC musicians to compose and record music for YouTube videos on women who survived attacks.

“We prepare and expect students to work. I recommended a student to sub for me with a big band, and the leader decided he would keep on calling my student instead of me. I thought that was great. It’s thrilling to see your students excel.”
Peter Erskine, director of Drumset Studies
CREATING A SPACE FOR ARTISTS • It’s called the Eastside Café, but it isn’t a coffee shop. It’s a community gathering space in East Los Angeles hosting classes, exhibitions and music. Every Saturday, graduate student Angela Flores leads a traditional jam session. Through the USC Arts Leadership program, she is working with her community to convert a group of abandoned bungalows near the café into artists’ studios. READ MORE >

The Emphasis is on Performing with Feeling

DMA student Richard Perez is teaching students to prize passion as well as perfection.

Developing a Vietnamese Children’s Songbook

A thesis turns into a love letter to a family’s cultural homeland for student Tina Huynh.

The Missing Maestro

Does a chamber orchestra need a conductor? Clarinetist and Arts Leadership student Benjamin Mitchell doesn’t think so.

Ask the Dean

Each week on Classical KUSC’s “Arts Alive” program, listeners pick the brain of USC Thornton Dean Robert Cutietta.

Bringing Music To Neighborhoods

Each year, more than 125 USC Thornton students provide music programming for more than 10,000 students and adults across Los Angeles.

Wellness for a Long Musical Career

Keck Medicine of USC otolaryngologists, physical therapists and orthopedists keep musicians and singers in peak shape.

Musicology Chair Joanna Demers Gets Raves for Groundbreaking New Book

She delves into 21st century philosophy, art and music with an imaginative literary style.

Essentials of Orchestra Management Program Moves from New York to USC Thornton

USC Thornton’s Arts Leadership program hosts the immersive seminar to develop future orchestra leaders.

“We study early music because there is a mistaken notion that old music is outdated. When you perform a piece of music, you are hearing the echoes of music and ideas that still resonate today. It feels alive.”
Adam Gilbert, director of the Early Music Program