Composition News

Michael Abels

Michael Abels lauded for score of Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’

April 16, 2019

Composer and USC Thornton alumnus Michael Abels ’84 was recently profiled on NPR for his score of Jordan Peele’s new horror movie, Us. NPR praises Abel for balancing terror with empathy, and Peele claims it is Abels’ heart that makes him a great horror scorer. Abels and Peele first collaborated on the Oscar-winning 2017 film Get […]


Sarah Gibson

Sarah Gibson wins Left Coast Composition Contest

April 10, 2019

USC Thornton Composition faculty member Sarah Gibson has just been announced as the winner of the 2019 Left Coast Competition Contest for her composition I prefer living in color. As part of the grand prize, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble will perform the piece during their 2019-20 season. Gibson wrote I prefer living in color […]


Saad Haddad

Saad Haddad chosen as New Young Concert Artist Composer-in-Residence

April 9, 2019

Last month, Young Concert Artists (YCA) announced USC Thornton Composition alumnus Saad Haddad ’14 as the 2019-2021 Young Concert Artist Composer-in-Residence. As the 12th composer to receive this honor, Haddad will receive management services, publicity and two Young Concert Artist commissions that will premiere at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall and the Kennedy Center in […]


New opera works

Composers, Librettists and Performers collaborate for New Opera Works performance

March 28, 2019

This Friday at noon Newman Recital Hall, New Opera Works (NOW), a new student organization at USC Thornton, will present the first performance of three opera shorts. Running 10 minutes, each short is composed by Thornton Composition majors and performed by Thornton Vocal Arts students and alumni. NOW, founded by current DMA Vocal Arts student […]


USC Thornton faculty and alumnus collaborate for world premiere with LACO

March 13, 2019

On March 23 and 24, Jeffrey Kahane, Professor of Keyboard Studies at USC Thornton, will return to Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to conduct the world premiere of GRAMMY Award-winning composer and Thornton alumnus James Newton Howard’s cello concerto, When we were One. The performance, which features USC Thornton Strings faculty member Andrew Shulman on cello […]


Bear McCreary

Two Thornton Alumni recognized for Video Game Scoring

February 28, 2019

Two USC Thornton alumni ranked in the top five of Film Music Media‘s list of the best video game scores of 2018. Bear McCreary ’02 earned the second spot for his score for God of War while Austin Wintory ’07 came in fourth for The Banner Saga 3.


LACO premieres new commission by Juan Pablo Contreras

February 13, 2019

This week, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) will premiere composer and USC Thornton DMA student Juan Pablo Contreras’ new piano quintet, Musas Mexicanas. The two-night debut will take place Thursday, Feb. 13 at Santa Monica’s Moss Theater and Friday, Feb. 15 at The Huntington in San Marino. Commissioned as part of LACO’s In Focus series […]


Jules Pegram

Jules Pegram wins ASCAP/CBDNA Fennell Prize

January 22, 2019

Earlier this year, Jules Pegram ‘13 received the ninth bi-annual American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Frederick Fennell Prize award for his piece “Concerto for Alto Saxophone & Wind Ensemble.” The competition, named for Frederick Fennell, ASCAP member and past President of CBDNA, was established to […]


Red Hen Press: An Afternoon of Poetry & Performance

December 13, 2018

Free this Sunday afternoon? USC Distinguished Professor Morten Lauridsen presents his celebrated music with Thornton faculty and alumni alike, including Rod Gilfry, Carin Gilfry, Dana Gioia, and more. The event, Red Hen Press: An Afternoon of Poetry & Performance, will take place at The Broad Stage! The spiritual depth of Morten Lauridsen’s music, paired with […]


Andrew Norman featured in YCA Composer-in-Residence promo

December 6, 2018

Celebrated composer and USC Thornton professor, Andrew Norman, is featured in the promotion of the Young Concert Artists Composer-in-Residence Search. An alumnus and previous winner of the program in 2008, Norman is quoted as saying that “YCA changed my creative life and work, and they can change yours too!” Winners are awarded two $5,000 commissions […]


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