Jeffrey de Caen
Associate Dean for Operations
He was the chief school liaison for the construction of the new Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center as well as the creator of the operational support model for this brand new school. Working closely with Artistic Director Ralph Kirshbaum, de Caen was the inaugural executive administrator for the 2012 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival and reprises that role for the second iteration of the event in 2016. Facilities improvement projects include the Simon Ramo Recital Hall, Jeanette MacDonald Recital Hall, and Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Symphonic Hall as well as the facility transitions and improvements of The Music Center and Gateway Practice Facility.
This Southern California native holds degrees in music, recording engineering, and business administration. His studies have also included the study of German and International Relations at the University of Bonn, Germany and the study of Gregorian Chant at the Benedictine Abbey in Solesmes, France. De Caen leverages a mix of almost 20 years of higher music education administration experience and many years of work in the industry including posts at A&M Recording Studios and Universal Music Publishing.
A. Phoenix Delgado
Associate Dean for Advancement
In the fall of 2012, Delgado was named the new music director and conductor of the New Valley Symphony Orchestra and most recently, he served as the music director and conductor for Broadway, film and television star, Kristin Chenoweth. In addition, Delgado’s guest conducting resume includes the Chamber Ensemble of Rome, Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, Bay Area Rainbow Symphony and Golden State Pops Orchestra.
As a flautist, Delgado was a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the age of 21 and continues to be a performer of choice for high-profile events and records for film, television and video games. His former principal positions include the El Paso Opera for nine seasons, the Cypress Pops Orchestra and the Golden State Pops Orchestra (GSPO).
Prior to coming to USC Thornton, he served as executive director for The Harmony Project, a non-profit organization that continues to offer music education to underserved children, and was instrumental in the organization’s development. He is the founder of Harmony Project’s Summer Festival Orchestras, the Harmony Project Orchestra, and the Hollywood Youth Orchestra. Furthermore, he formed the LA Philharmonic’s EXPO Center Youth Orchestra which has been conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl as part of Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA).
Delgado has been featured numerous times in the Los Angeles Times and People Magazine
Susan M. Lopez
Associate Dean for Finance and Administration
Prior to her tenure at USC, Lopez served as Director of Student Services and Admission at the Aspen Music Festival, and was on the staff of the Marlboro Music Festival. She earned her B.M. in Piano Performance and B.A. in History from Oberlin College and Conservatory. She holds an M.B.A. from the USC Marshall School of Business. Lopez has served as presenter and accreditation evaluator for the National Associate of Schools of Music, and is an active member of the Western Association of College and University Business Officers.
Phillip M. Placenti
Assistant Dean for Admission and Student Affairs
Placenti is also active in faith-based community efforts in the USC neighborhood, including literacy and tutoring programs for elementary school children.
He enjoys reading, road-tripping, and soaking up the multicultural character of Southern California. Above all, Placenti cherishes quiet time with his wife and two daughters, especially on trips to the Central California coast.