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Alumni

Alumni Accomplishments

The USC Thornton School of Music is proud to share the accomplishments of our outstanding alumni. These achievements represent only a small sampling of the great work our alumni are doing around the world.

The list below includes accomplishments submitted since July 2020. To submit your own accomplishments, please complete our handy web submission form.

Classical Performance & Composition

Michael Abels ’84, Composition
7/1/20 – Multiple alumni of USC Thornton received awards and nominations for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2020 Screen Music Awards, honoring the accomplishments of composers for film, television and video games from 2019. Abels was nominated for Film Score of the Year for “Us,” and received a Top Box Office Films award.

7/22/20 – USC Thornton alumni and award-winning composers Michael Abels and Ludwig Göransson were recently featured in an LA Times article looking ahead to the 2020 Emmy Awards and the standout composers for television who may be poised for top honors. Abels is highlighted for his score for the HBO series Bad Education.

9/7/20 – Abels, along with Screen Scoring faculty member, Laura Karpman, were recently quoted in a Variety article about the increase in the diversity of the Emmy Awards’ music categories. Both Abels and Karpman are award-winning founders of organizations that work to support underrepresented composers in film and television.

Sydney Adedamola ’18, Violin
7/18/20 – The Los Angeles Philharmonic has announced that Sydney Adedamola, violinist and alum of the USC Thornton Strings program, is one of this season’s cohort of the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen LA Phil Resident Fellows program. The program was founded in 2018 to build stronger career pathways for musicians historically underrepresented in today’s orchestras.

10/8/20 – The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship is a groundbreaking program that was developed in response to the fact that less than 5% of America’s orchestra members are African American, Hispanic, or Native American. Among the members of the first cohort of this program included alum Sydney Adedamola.

Sarkis Baltaian ’99, MM ’01, DMA ’07, Piano Performance
7/20/20 – Derek Polischuk and Sarkis Baltaian’s new CD Latin American Music for 2 Pianos was reviewed by James Harrington in the July/August 2020 American Record Guide. Harrington raved that Polischuk and Baltaian had a great time with the music and cannot imagine anyone listening to this and not being drawn in.

Juhi Bansal ’06, MM ’08, DMA ’12, Composition
7/23/20 – Los Angeles area students will learn and perform an opera by Composition alum Juhi Bansal in the upcoming season of LA Opera’s Secondary In-School Opera program. The remote workshops are an opportunity for students to sharpen their theatrical skills with a contemporary work.

Bokyung Byun DMA ’20, Classical Guitar
7/27/20 – A group of entrepreneurial alumni and students of USC Thornton’s Classical Guitar program have launched Guitarlab, a new international online classical guitar intensive and competition for guitarists ages 12-21. Alumni Byun, Tomasz Fechner (MM ’16, DMA ’20), and Jaxon Williams (DMA ’20) along with doctoral students Mircea Gogoncea and Brendon Grabowski built the robust learning platform to offer a wide variety of courses to students interested in honing their skills and preparing for a career in classical guitar.

Juan-Salvador Carrasco ’19, GCRT ’20, Cello
10/8/20 – Thornton alums Malik Taylor and Juan-Salvador Carrasco discuss their recent involvement with the Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship. This groundbreaking program was developed in response to the fact that less than 5% of America’s orchestra members are African American, Hispanic, or Native American. Among the members of the first cohort of the program was alum Juan-Salvador Carrasco. Carrasco went on to form the Mixtape Series, a forward-looking chamber music series, along with fellow Thornton alumni Michael Siess, Misha Vayman, and Nao Kubota. The group finds a way to creatively combine Mozart quartets with the Beatles, bringing classical and contemporary together.

Sung Chang GCRT ’17, Piano
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including pianist Sung Chang. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Billy Childs ’79, Composition
8/10/20 – GRAMMY Award-nominated artist Billy Childs is set to release a new album and reflects on its influences in a recent JazzTimes interview. Child’s new album, Acceptance, will be available on Aug. 28, and features Jazz Studies faculty member Sara Gazarek as a vocalist.

Claire JaeYoun Chung GCRT ’15, DMA ’20, Clarinet
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including clarinetist Claire JaeYoun Chung. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Sérgio Coelho GCRT ’16, MM ’18, AD ’20, Clarinet
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including clarinetist Sérgio Coelho. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Luis Reyes Duarte DMA ’20, Keyboard Collaborative Arts
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including pianist Luis Reyes Duarte. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Tomasz Fechner MM ’16, DMA ’20, Classical Guitar
7/27/20 – A group of entrepreneurial alumni and students of USC Thornton’s Classical Guitar program have launched Guitarlab, a new international online classical guitar intensive and competition for guitarists ages 12-21. Alumni Bokyung Byun (DMA ’20), Fechner, and Jaxon Williams (DMA ’20) along with doctoral students Mircea Gogoncea and Brendon Grabowski built the robust learning platform to offer a wide variety of courses to students interested in honing their skills and preparing for a career in classical guitar.

Grant Gershon ‘85, Piano
8/6/20 – Grant Gershon, artistic director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, recently penned an article for KCET about how artists and arts organizations can do more to make the arts accessible and equitable. As many arts organizations face limitations during the Covid-19 pandemic, and artists and professionals feel the call to do more to confront inequality in their professions, Gershon emphasizes the importance of emerging from the current crisis with purpose.

8/24/20 – In a recent KCET article, Thornton alum Grant Gershon, artistic director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, shares advice and lessons learned while conducting choirs virtually during the pandemic. Choir directors like Gershon have transitioned to edited ensemble performances, with choir members recording their parts individually from home. The solution requires a great deal of post-production, but has allowed ensembles like LAMC to produce a number of virtual performances and keep their community connected.

Sarah Gibson MM ’10, DMA ’15, Composition
9/17/20 – Multiple USC Thornton artists and alumni-founded ensembles were awarded San Francisco Classical Voice’s Audience Choice Awards for the 2019-2020 season. This year was the first-ever Audience Choice Awards with a category dedicated to celebrating the vibrant classical music scene in Los Angeles. HOCKET, the piano duo of alumni Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff, was awarded “Best Chamber Ensemble” and “Best New-Music Ensemble,” and the duo’s much talked about new commission series, #What2020SoundsLike, was awarded “Best Discovery” and “Best Streamed Performance Created During the Pandemic.”

Christopher Goodpasture ’11, Piano
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including pianist Christopher Goodpasture. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Andrew Harrison DMA ’15, Saxophone
9/1/2020 – Saxophonist Andrew Harrison launched a new online concert series, Concert Cast on Sept. 1. Harrison performed with pianist Jason Lo in a program that featured works by Bozza, Ravel, and many more. The event was streamed on Facebook.

Jason Issokson DMA ’11, Performance Violin
9/9/20 – Jason Issokson, current Second Violin with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and cellist Yoshika Masuda, founding member of the SAKURA Cello Quintet, have recently joined Luri Lee and Hezekiah Leung in the Rolston String Quartet.

Coleman Itzkoff MM ’16, Cello Performance
7/13/20 – Alumni of USC Thornton will appear as artists in residence at Yellow Barn this summer and perform in the organization’s first-ever virtual concert series: cellist and graduate certificate student Coleman Itzkoff; cellist Gabriel Martins; and clarinetist and artist diploma student Yasmina Spiegelberg. The three musicians will appear in a number of virtual concerts throughout the summer. The series premiered on July 10, and the final event will stream on August 8.

Andrés Jaramillo DMA ’20, Piano
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including pianist Andrés Jaramillo. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Jae Uk Jeon GCRT ’20, Flute
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including flutist Jae Uk Jeon. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Vimbayi Kaziboni ’10, Percussion
9/17/20 – Vimbayi Kaziboni has been appointed to the newly created position of Artistic Advisor for the Boston Lyric Opera.

YuEun Kim GCRT ’15, AD ’17, Violin
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including violinist YuEun Kim. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

10/13/20 –  Kim, along with alum Etienne Gara, launched a unique, mobile outdoor concert series, MusiKaravan. Both are members of the Delirium Museum, whose mission is to encourage human connection while showcasing California’s organic food and wine makers. Through MusiKaravan, Gara and Kim travelled by car throughout California to perform safely outdoors for workers at farms and wineries.

Thomas Kotcheff, MM ’12, DMA ’19, Composition
9/17/20 – Multiple USC Thornton artists and alumni-founded ensembles were awarded San Francisco Classical Voice’s Audience Choice Awards for the 2019-2020 season. This year was the first-ever Audience Choice Awards with a category dedicated to celebrating the vibrant classical music scene in Los Angeles. HOCKET, the piano duo of alumni Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff, was awarded “Best Chamber Ensemble” and “Best New-Music Ensemble,” and the duo’s much talked about new commission series, #What2020SoundsLike, was awarded “Best Discovery” and “Best Streamed Performance Created During the Pandemic.” Kotcheff also received the award for “Best Instrumental Recital Performance” for his Piano Spheres performance of Frederic Rzewski’s Songs of Insurrection.

Iris Levine, DMA ’90, Choral Music
9/17/20 – Multiple USC Thornton artists and alumni-founded ensembles were awarded San Francisco Classical Voice’s Audience Choice Awards for the 2019-2020 season. This year was the first-ever Audience Choice Awards with a category dedicated to celebrating the vibrant classical music scene in Los Angeles. Choral Ensemble VOX Femina Los Angeles, currently led by founder and artistic director, Iris Levine, was awarded “Best Choral Performance.”

Isaac López MM ’14, DMA ’18, Saxophone
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including saxophonist Isaac López. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Gina Luciani MM ’13, Flute
8/31/2020 – Flutist Gina Luciani recently released an arrangement of Georges Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy. A celebrated studio musician with an active following, Luciani’s version has been over 10 years in the making and features music for both flute and piano.

Javier Iglesias Martin GCRT ’18, Cello
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including cellist Javier Iglesias Martin. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Gabriel Martins ’19, Cello Performance
7/13/20 – Alumni of USC Thornton will appear as artists in residence at Yellow Barn this summer and perform in the organization’s first-ever virtual concert series: cellist and graduate certificate student Coleman Itzkoff; cellist Gabriel Martins; and clarinetist and artist diploma student Yasmina Spiegelberg. The three musicians will appear in a number of virtual concerts throughout the summer. The series premiered on July 10, and the final event will stream on August 8.

10/14/20 – Cellist Gabriel Martins has earned another notable award, marking his third major prize in what has been a momentous year for the decorated artist. Martins has been announced as one of two Grand Prize winners in the 2020 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition.

Yoshika Masuda GCRT ’12, DMA ’16, Performance Violoncello
9/9/2020 – Jason Issokson, current Second Violin with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and cellist Yoshika Masuda, founding member of the SAKURA Cello Quintet, have recently joined Luri Lee and Hezekiah Leung in the Rolston String Quartet.

Bear McCreary ’02, Composition
7/1/20 – McCreary was named TV Composer of the Year as part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2020 Screen Music Awards. He also received a Top Box Office Films award and a Top Television Series award for his work on the long-running show “The Walking Dead.”

James Moursund MM ’20, Sacred Music
7/9/20 – Sacred Music alum James Moursund has been appointed as the Full time Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Paul’s Catholic Community in Leesburg, Florida. He will begin October 1, 2020.

Roger Neill ’86, Composition
7/1/20 – Composition alum Roger Neill has been invited into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Neill is known for his work on the Amazon television show “Mozart in the Jungle,” and for films such as “20th Century Women” and “Don’t Think Twice.”

9/30/20 – Roger Neill was recently interviewed for Variety’s Songs for Screens column about his approach to scoring film and television projects remotely. In the interview, Neill discusses how he drew from his network of session musicians to create a virtual orchestra for the score of the HBO Max series “Unpregnant.”

Derek Polischuk ’01, MM ’04, DMA ’06, Piano Performance
7/20/20 – Derek Polischuk was promoted to Full Professor of Piano at Michigan State University.

7/20/20 – Derek Polischuk and Sarkis Baltaian’s new CD Latin American Music for 2 Pianos was reviewed by James Harrington in the July/August 2020 American Record Guide. Harrington raved that Polischuk and Baltaian had a great time with the music and cannot imagine anyone listening to this and not being drawn in.

Sungmin Shin ’09, Classical Guitar
8/17/20 – Classical Guitar alum Sungmin Shin has spent the last two months preparing for the upcoming school year, working towards keeping students engaged and continuing music making. Sungmin feels a connection to the blues and posted a video entitled the Pandemic Blues Improv to YouTube using the recording software he learned during the summer. He hopes that the video can help lift up other musicians during this time of uncertainty.

Elise Solberg ’18, Piano
8/12/20 – Elise is hosting a virtual panel of top touring musicians to discuss challenges women face in the touring/live music industry. This panel is second in the series called In Conversation: Women In Music, by the newly minted organization founded by Elise Solberg called Turn Up Her Mic, aiming to showcase the experiences of women in music. The first panel featured Thornton grad Karina DePiano (BM ’16) and will feature Gina Luciani (MM ’13) in the upcoming panel, as well as other female musicians who tour with some of the most high-profile artists. The panel will take place on August 18th, 2020 at 3pm PST via Zoom.

Yasmina Spiegelberg GCRT ’17, Clarinet
7/13/20 – Alumni of USC Thornton will appear as artists in residence at Yellow Barn this summer and perform in the organization’s first-ever virtual concert series: cellist and graduate certificate student Coleman Itzkoff; cellist Gabriel Martins; and clarinetist and artist diploma student Yasmina Spiegelberg. The three musicians will appear in a number of virtual concerts throughout the summer. The series premiered on July 10, and the final event will stream on August 8.

7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including clarinetist Yasmina Spiegelberg. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Claire Stancu ’88, MM ’91, Classical Guitar
9/16/20 – Classical guitarist and alum Claire Stancu just released a new album Lazy Days to Bandcamp.

Malik Taylor ’20, French Horn Performance
10/8/20 – Thornton alums Malik Taylor and Juan-Salvador Carrasco discuss their recent involvement with the Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship. This groundbreaking program was developed in response to the fact that less than 5% of America’s orchestra members are African American, Hispanic, or Native American. Taylor, one of four incoming fellows for the second cohort of the program, had the opportunity to play for Robert Lee Watt when he was 13 and performed for various Warner Bros productions while at Thornton.

Katelyn Vahala ’18, MM ’20, Piano
7/26/20 – Winners of the 2020-2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions (BHNA) were recently announced, and among them are a long list of 12 students and alumni of USC Thornton, including pianist Katelyn Vahala. Each year, the BHNA selects winners to be presented the following season in a series of monthly concerts across Southern California. In consideration of restrictions on in-person events, the 2020-2021 season will begin with live streamed concerts.

Jaxon Williams DMA ’20, Classical Guitar
7/27/20 – A group of entrepreneurial alumni and students of USC Thornton’s Classical Guitar program have launched Guitarlab, a new international online classical guitar intensive and competition for guitarists ages 12-21. Alumni Bokyung Byun (DMA ’20), Tomasz Fechner (MM ’16, DMA ’20), and Williams along with doctoral students Mircea Gogoncea and Brendon Grabowski built the robust learning platform to offer a wide variety of courses to students interested in honing their skills and preparing for a career in classical guitar.

Austin Wintory ’07, Composition
7/1/20 – Wintory was nominated in the Video Game Score of the Year category as part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2020 Screen Music Awards.

Contemporary Music

Ambrose Akinmusire MM ’07, Jazz Studies
9/8/2020 – Alumni Ambrose Akinmusire and Gerald Clayton performed in this year’s virtual National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master’s Ceremony. The virtual concert was held on August 20, honoring multiple different artists. Pianist Clayton performed alongside honoree Reggie Workman, and trumpeter Akinmusire performed with honoree Roscoe Mitchell.

10/6/2020 – Ambrose Akinmusire was voted top trumpeter in DownBeat Magazine’s 2020 Critics Poll. Each year, Downbeat Magazine’s Critics Poll recognizes the top jazz musicians and artists in the music world and names rising stars within the jazz community. The recognition comes after the acclaimed musician released a new album this summer, on the tender spot of every calloused moment.

Jongnic Bontemps GCRT ’12, Screen Scoring
7/24/20 – On Sunday, July 26, three USC Thornton alumni appeared on a panel event for this year’s online-only Comic-Con, Comic-Con@Home. The live online event is a game show-style panel called Composer Squares Game Show, in the style of Hollywood Squares, and featured alumni composers Bontemps, Christopher Lennertz (BM ’95), and Giona Ostinelli (GCRT ’11) alongside other composers for film and television to answer trivia questions about popular entertainment.

Eli Brueggemann MM ’03, Jazz Studies
7/28/20 – USC Thornton faculty and alumni were nominated in the 72nd Emmy Awards, announced on July 28. Brueggemann, the musical director for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” was nominated in the category of Outstanding Music Direction for the episode, “SNL At Home #1” along with Lenny Pickett and Leon Pendarvis.

Varqa Buehrer GCRT ’15, Screen Scoring
7/1/20 – Varqa Buehrer received a Top Box Office Film award at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2020 Screen Music Awards, which honors the accomplishments of composers for film, television and video games from 2019.

Gerald Clayton ’07, Jazz Studies
9/8/2020 – Alumni Ambrose Akinmusire and Gerald Clayton performed in this year’s virtual National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master’s Ceremony. The virtual concert was held on August 20, honoring multiple different artists. Pianist Clayton performed alongside honoree Reggie Workman, and trumpeter Akinmusire performed with honoree Roscoe Mitchell.

Rosalind Crane ’13, Popular Music
9/15/20 – Rozzi Crane, known professionally as Rozzi, released her new single Best Friend Song on August 14 with S-Curve Records. The song is a fun and lighthearted friendship anthem dedicated to her best friend Tatti.

Chanda Dancy GCRT ’04, Screen Scoring
7/7/20 – Screen Scoring alum Chanda Dancy has been invited into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Dancy is an orchestral and film composer known for movies such as “Everything Before Us.”

Sara Gazarek ’04, Jazz Studies
8/5/2020 – Jazz Studies faculty member and alum Sara Gazarek was recently interviewed for LondonJazz News. In the interview, Gazarek answers questions about her current influences, her new vocal quartet, säje, and how she has felt as a musician during the pandemic.

Josh Goldberg ’15, Popular Music
7/8/20 – Pop alum Josh Goldberg recently released a new album entitled Anchors and Balloons. An album of Jewish and inspirational music co-produced by LA session musician Ross Garren, was released via a virtual concert on July 5, 2020.

Jason Goldman MM ’02, Jazz Studies
9/2/2020 – Alumnus and chair of the Jazz Studies program Jason Goldman has released a new EP entitled Hypnotized. The EP features arrangements from the American Songbook and original songs in the same style.

Ludwig Göransson GCRT ‘08, Screen Scoring
7/22/20 – USC Thornton alumni and award-winning composers Michael Abels (BM ’84) and Ludwig Göransson (GCRT ‘08) were recently featured in an LA Times article looking ahead to the 2020 Emmy Awards and the standout composers for television who may be poised for top honors. Göransson receives mention for his much-talked-about score for “The Mandalorian.”

7/28/20 – USC Thornton faculty and alumni were nominated in the 72nd Emmy Awards, announced on July 28. Göransson was nominated for his score for Disney+’s “The Mandalorian.” Göransson received a nomination in the category of Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score). 

9/21/20 – USC Thornton’s celebrated Screen Scoring program had a good showing at the 2020 Emmy Awards on Sept. 20. Göransson won in the category of Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) for his work on The Mandalorian on Disney+. Göransson’s winning composition was featured in the episode, “Chapter 8: Redemption.” This is Göransson’s first Emmy Award.

10/12/20 – Göransson was recently named to Variety’s “Hollywood’s New Leaders” list, showcasing the newest generation of leaders in the industry under 40. Göransson was recognized for his rapid success as a composer and producer. He is an Oscar-winner, Emmy winner and triple GRAMMY honoree, for his work on the Black Panther Film and with Childish Gambino.

Renée Goldsberry MM ’97, Jazz Studies
7/9/20 – Tony Award-winning Jazz Studies alum Renée Goldsberry was interviewed in the LA Times about her role as Angelica Schuyler in the hit musical Hamilton after the film version of the musical was recently released on Disney+.

Gordy Haab GCRT ’02, Screen Scoring
7/1/20 – Gordy Haab received top honors in the Composers’ Choice categories as part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2020 Screen Music Awards. Haab was awarded Video Game Score of the Year for his score for “Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order.”

Erin Jacobson ’05, Music Industry
8/12/20 – Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. has been named to Billboard magazine’s “Top Music Lawyers” List for 2020, showcasing the top attorneys in the music industry.

Brian Robert Jones ’15, Pop Music
9/24/20 – Brian Robert Jones recently released No Strings Attached, an *NSYNC cover album celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band’s original album of the same name. The album is filled with fresh takes on the original album’s iconic hits, and features appearances by some of Jones’ friends and collaborators, including fellow Popular Music alum Ren Farren (BM ’15) and Chris Tomson, drummer for Vampire Weekend. Following the release, Jones appeared on *NSYNC member Lance Bass’s podcast, The Daily Popcast with Lance Bass, to discuss the project.

Christopher Lennertz ’95, Screen Scoring
7/24/20 – On Sunday, July 26, three USC Thornton alumni appeared on a panel event for this year’s online-only Comic-Con, Comic-Con@Home. The live online event is a game show-style panel called Composer Squares Game Show, in the style of Hollywood Squares, and featured alumni composers Jongnic Bontemps (GCRT ’12), Lennertz, and Giona Ostinelli (GCRT ’11) alongside other composers for film and television to answer trivia questions about popular entertainment.

Justin Lubliner ’12, Music Industry
7/14/20 – On July 28, Music Industry alum Justin Lubliner will be the keynote speaker at the Music Business Association’s #NEXTGEN_NOW Virtual Summit. The event brings together young professionals in the music industry for discussions about industry innovations and career building.

8/26/20 – The Darkroom, an Interscope Record imprint founded by Music Industry alum Justin Lubliner, has partnered with Billie Eilish’s mother Maggie Baird and other organizations to provide healthy meals to food insecure communities during the pandemic. The campaign was started by Baird’s organization Support + Feed, and has provided thousands of meals to families in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Boys & Girls Club thanks to contributions from The Darkroom.

10/12/20 – Lubliner was recently named to Variety’s “Hollywood’s New Leaders” list, showcasing the newest generation of leaders in the industry under 40. Lubliner was recognized as the founder of Darkroom Records, an imprint of Interscope Records that he began at Thornton. In 2015, he signed Billie Eilish to the label and has since helped develop her GRAMMY-sweeping career.

Jensen McRae ’19, Popular Music
8/21/20 – Popular Music alum Jensen McRae was recently featured on KCRW’s In Residence series, with the outlet describing McRae as “unquestionably one of KCRW’s favorite new artists of 2020.” In her interview, McRae talks about the music she’s currently writing and why visibility is important as a Black artist in the folk-rock genre. McRae is set to release her first full-length album in 2021.

Molly Miller ’11, MM’13, DMA’16, Studio Guitar
9/30/20 – Guitarist Molly Miller, who has recorded and toured with Jason Mraz and the Black Eyed Peas, was invited to speak with Thornton students via Zoom as part of a masterclasses series hosted by USC Thornton’s Division of Contemporary Music.

Tish Oney DMA ’07, Jazz Studies
8/3/20 – Tish authored a critically-acclaimed biography as part of the official, international “Peggy Lee 100” celebration, Peggy Lee: A Century of Song. The book earned a Starred Review from Library Journal and praise from several other media outlets. The book will be released August 20 via a virtual book launch on Facebook Live @TishOneyFan.

Giona Ostinelli GCRT ’11, Screen Scoring
7/24/20 – On Sunday, July 26, three USC Thornton alumni appeared on a panel event for this year’s online-only Comic-Con, Comic-Con@Home. The live online event is a game show-style panel called Composer Squares Game Show, in the style of Hollywood Squares, and featured alumni composers Jongnic Bontemps (GCRT ’12), Christopher Lennertz (BM ’95), and Ostinelli alongside other composers for film and television to answer trivia questions about popular entertainment.

Jaimie Pangan MM ’19, Screen Scoring
7/10/20 – Jaimie Pangan has been invited to be a voting member of the Recording Academy. The Recording Academy extended membership invitations to more than 2,300 established music professionals. The invitation is a reflection of their important contributions to music and potential to influence progressive changes within the music industry.

Jermaine Stegall GCRT ’04, Screen Scoring
7/1/20 – Screen Scoring alum Jermaine Stegall has been invited into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Stegall has composed for films and television, and is the composer for the upcoming film “Coming 2 America,” a sequel to the 1988 film “Coming to America.”

Nick Stoubis ’97, MM ’00, Studio Guitar
9/10/20 – Distinguished professor and Thornton alumnus Nick Stoubis was recently featured on Jaden Smith’s, son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, new release Cool Tape Volume 3. Stoubis recorded, co-produced, and co-wrote several songs on this album, including “Falling for You,” featuring Justin Bieber, that topped the charts on streaming platforms worldwide.

Anj Vancura ’12, Music Industry
8/12/20 – During this time of in-person venue shutdowns, Anj (performing as Sunrise Transparence) pivoted to offering guided meditation & soundbath sessions online. Sunrise Transparence presents two complete online meditation series- in time of social distancing and Cycles of Transformation, streaming weekly on YouTube and Twitter. Performing solo with multiple brass, woodwind, keyboard, and percussion instruments, Sunrise Transparence offers participants a unique mindfulness experience that features rich, evolving musical textures.

Daniel Weidlein ’12, Jazz Studies
9/29/2020 – Daniel Weidlein offered his thoughts on music education and production during the pandemic in a recent article on MajoringinMusic.com. Weidlein notes how these new circumstances are a unique opportunity for students to learn to adapt to what was already becoming the norm in the industry.

Mitchell Yoshida ’05, Jazz Studies
Jazz Studies alum Mitchell Yoshida sat down with the USC Thornton staff to discuss his first musical gig as a pianist for Jesse McCartney, his musical journey from Los Angeles to New York, and even gives a small peak into his remarkable home studio.

Research and Scholarly Studies

Diane Wittry ’83, MM ’85, Music Education
9/21/20 – Diane Wittry was the guest speaker at the 2020 III International Symposium for Women Conductors. Wittry is currently the Music Director and Conductor of both the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania, and the Music Director and Conductor of the Garden State Philharmonic in New Jersey. Her session was on her famous book “Beyond the Baton.”