Composition News

portrait of Michael Abels

Michael Abels interviewed by ScreenDaily on diversity in film scoring

November 15, 2020

USC Thornton alum and award-winning composer Michael Abels (BM ‘84) was interviewed by ScreenDaily along with “Joker” composer Hildur Gudna­dottir about improving diversity in the film and television scoring industry. Abels shared how young people responding to the success of his work on “Get Out” prompted him to co-found the Composers Diversity Collective, an organization […]


Album cover with images of four band members

The Yellowjackets release 25th album, Jackets XL

November 11, 2020

The Yellowjackets, an iconic GRAMMY Award-winning jazz quartet that includes three USC Thornton faculty members – saxophonist Bob Mintzer, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, and drummer Will Kennedy – have released their 25th album entitled Jackets XL. The album pairs the talents of the quartet with the WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany, which Mintzer has led […]


Formal portrait of Billy Childs dressed in black

Billy Childs featured in DownBeat Magazine

November 10, 2020

USC Thornton alum and GRAMMY Award-winning composer and pianist Billy Childs (BM ‘79) was recently featured in a DownBeat Magazine article about how he embraces music outside of boundaries and genres. The article reflects on the influence the Los Angeles jazz and improvisational music scenes had on Childs’ “borderless concept of music,” particularly in his […]


Photo of Ted Hearne

Ted Herne’s Farming awarded Pew Center for Arts & Heritage grant

November 4, 2020

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage recently announced a $360,000 project grant for Farming, a forthcoming new work by Composition faculty member Ted Hearne produced with The Crossing chamber choir. The concert-length work will premiere in the summer of 2023 with a performance at Kings Oaks Farm, a sustainable farm located in Bucks County, […]


Peter Shin photographed outdoors with greenery behind him

Peter Shin announced as 2020-2021 Sound Investment composer

October 29, 2020

Peter Shin (MM ’17), an alum of USC Thornton’s Composition program, was announced this summer as the newest Sound Investment Composer in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Sound Investment program, a commissioning club enabling supporters to sponsor the work of each season’s featured composer and follow the composer’s creative process from start to finish. Shin’s […]


Portrait of Leaha Maria Villareal against white backdrop

Leaha Maria Villareal’s “The Warmth of Other Suns” to air on Bang on a Can Marathon concert

October 16, 2020

USC Thornton doctoral student Leaha Maria Villareal’s “The Warmth of Other Suns,” performed by violinist Andie Tanning, will be featured in the Bang on a Can Marathon concert on Sunday, Oct. 18. The 6-hour virtual concert begins at 12:00 p.m. PDT, with Villareal’s piece airing during a set of performances beginning at 2:00 p.m. PDT. […]


Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff

HOCKET interviewed by San Francisco Classical Voice

October 6, 2020

USC Thornton alumni Sarah Gibson (MM ‘10, DMA ‘15) and Thomas Kotcheff (MM ‘12, DMA ‘19), of piano duo HOCKET, were recently interviewed by San Francisco Classical Voice. The duo discusses the importance of art during this time, their upcoming work, and their celebrated commission series #What2020SoundsLike. “We wanted to bring us all together through […]


Roger Neill holding a coffee mug

Roger Neill discusses remote screen scoring with Variety

September 30, 2020

Roger Neill (BM ‘86), an alum of USC Thornton’s Composition program, 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 […]


Photo of Laura Karpman outdoors

Michael Abels and Laura Karpman quoted in Variety

September 7, 2020

Composition alum Michael Abels (BM ’84) and 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. Abels and Karpman are both award-winning composers and founders of organizations that work to support underrepresented composers in film and television. Abels, who […]


Grant Gershon photoraphed against blank backdrop

Grant Gershon shares advice for virtual choirs

August 24, 2020

In a recent KCET article, USC Thornton alum Grant Gershon (BM ‘85), artistic director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC), 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 […]


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