Alumni News

Photo of Sara Gazarek

Sara Gazarek performs live set at Paste Studio NYC

January 21, 2020

USC Thornton alum and current Jazz Studies faculty member Sara Gazarek (BM ’04) recently performed a live set at Paste Studio NYC, performing three tracks from her latest album Thirsty Ghost. “The record is a truly, beautifully authentic representation of a very specific story, at a very particular time of my life,” Gazarek says of […]


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Alan Smith to premiere song cycle at NYC songSLAM Festival

January 15, 2020

Pianist Alan Smith, chair of Keyboard Studies and director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts at USC Thornton, will be premiering a new song cycle on Saturday, Jan. 18 at the final event of the songSLAM Festival in New York City, organized by the art song consortium Sparks and Wiry Cries. The five-song piece, titled “Surfing the […]


Ludwig Göransson shares experimental recording techniques from work with Childish Gambino

December 28, 2019

Screen Scoring alum Ludwig Göransson (GC ’08) recently shared some of the experimental recording techniques he used when producing tracks on the Childish Gambino album Because of the Internet, such as experimenting with iPhone recordings in order to generate new sounds. Göransson shares that they used low-fi iPhone recordings of sound effects and vocals for […]


Michael Abels

Thornton alumni end 2019 with awards nominations

December 26, 2019

Composition alumni Michael Abels (BM ’84) and Austin Wintory (BM ’07), and USC Thornton Board of Councilors member Thomas Newman, are all ending 2019 with nominations for the 2020 awards season. All three composers are nominated for the inaugural SCL Awards, granted by the Society of Composers & Lyricists: Abels’ “Us” score is nominated for […]


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Andris Mattson of Moonchild remixes Sara Gazarek’s “Cocoon”

December 22, 2019

Andris Mattson (BM ’13), Jazz Studies alum and one third of neo-R&B trio Moonchild, recently released a remix of Björk’s “Cocoon” performed by Jazz Studies faculty member Sara Gazarek, skillfully merging faculty and alumni talent. Though Mattson primarily performs with Moonchild, a band of Jazz Studies alumni, he also releases music independently. Gazarek originally recorded […]


Photo of Amber Navran and Max Byrk at NPR Tiny Desk

Moonchild makes NPR Tiny Desk debut

December 17, 2019

USC Thornton alumni trio Moonchild made their debut on NPR’s Tiny Desk series this week, performing two songs from their new album, Little Ghost, and one from their previous album, Voyager. With their unique blend of soul, jazz and R&B, the group pulled out all the stops for their set, bringing in additional percussion and […]


Photo of Mikaela Strauss

King Princess performs for Cindi Lauper’s annual benefit show for LGBTQ homeless youth

December 15, 2019

Mikaela Strauss, a non-degreed Popular Music alum who performs under the name King Princess, recently performed for Cindi Lauper’s annual benefit concert, Home for the Holidays, which supports LGBTQ homeless youth. Strauss sang her hit single “Hit the Back” off of her debut album “Cheap Queen,” before joining a duet of Lauper’s “Time After Time” […]


Black and white portrait of Katelyn Vahala

Katelyn Vahala wins first prize at Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition

December 11, 2019

Keyboard Studies alum and current graduate student Katelyn Vahala (BM ’18) has recently won first prize at the Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition, and also won the prize for best contemporary performance. The international competition is named for the late Rosalyn Tureck, an acclaimed pianist, teacher, conductor, scholar, and author, who was known for her […]


Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen and Grant Gershon discuss 25th anniversary of “O Magnem Mysterium” on KUSC

December 10, 2019

USC Thornton alum Grant Gershon (BM ’85) and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Composition and Thornton alum Morten Lauridsen recently appeared on KUSC’s Arts Alive to discuss the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 25th anniversary of Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium.” The Master Chorale premiered the iconic work, and will perform it on Sunday, Dec. 15 in celebration […]


Dual image of Austin Wintory and Bear McCreary

Austin Wintory interviews Bear McCreary about composing for video games

December 6, 2019

As a guest host of The Game Maker’s Notebook podcast from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, Composition alum Austin Wintory (BM ’07) recently interviewed fellow Trojan and video game composer, Screen Scoring alum Bear McCreary (BM ’02). Both composers are widely known for their award-winning video game scores, and even worked together on […]


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