Composition News

Patrice Rushen

Patrice Rushen and Thornton alumni invited into the Academy

July 7, 2020

Patrice Rushen, chair of the Popular Music program at USC Thornton, along with three Thornton alumni—Chanda Dancy (GCRT ’04), Roger Neill (BM ’86), and Jermaine Stegall (GCRT ’04)—have been invited into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Rushen’s classic song “Forget Me Nots” was sampled for Will Smith’s “Men in Black,” from the […]


Varqa Buehrer

Thornton Alumni receive ASCAP 2020 Screen Music Awards

July 1, 2020

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. Bear McCreary (BM ’02) and Gordy Haab (GCRT ’02) received top honors in the Composers’ Choice categories. McCreary was […]


Frank Ticheli

Choirs from around the world perform Frank Ticheli’s “Earth Song” in global project

June 22, 2020

In a call to unity during difficult times, a collective of 21 choirs from around the world premiered a performance of “Earth Song,” by Composition faculty member Frank Ticheli, a piece that has resonated with many artists since the pandemic began. The ensemble of 167 singers came together virtually for the “Sing Around The gloBe” […]


Emily Cooley

Emily Cooley and Sturdivant Adams awarded 2020 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards

June 20, 2020

USC Thornton Composition alum Emily Cooley (MM ’14) and Screen Scoring alum Sturdivant Adams (MM ’19) have both been awarded the 2020 Morton Gould Young Composer Award. The national juried competition honors composers of original, classical concert music under the age of 30. Cooley received the award in recognition of her piece titled “Dissolve.” Adams […]


faculty and alumni portraits

Thornton faculty and alumni join MusiCares relief benefit

June 18, 2020

USC Thornton faculty members and alumni are among the many artists and composers contributing their talents to “Soundtrack of Our Lives: A Celebration for the Film & TV Music Community,” an online benefit show for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. Screen Scoring alum Jongnic Bontemps (GCRT ’12), Composition alumni Austin Wintory (BM ’07) and Michael […]


Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff

HOCKET launches new commission series #What2020SoundsLike

June 17, 2020

USC Thornton alumni Sarah Gibson (MM ’10, DMA ’15) and Thomas Kotcheff (MM ’12, DMA ‘19), who together form piano duo HOCKET, have launched a new commission series called #What2020SoundsLike. They have commissioned 50 composers to create new, short works between 15 and 45 seconds in length, which the duo will record and release on […]


Juan Pablo Contreras

Juan Pablo Contreras selected for New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices program

June 15, 2020

Juan Pablo Contreras, a doctoral candidate in Composition and Latin GRAMMY nominee, has been named one of six composers in New Music USA’s 2020 Amplifying Voices program. With support from Sphinx Venture Fund, the program partners with six lead orchestras to co-commission new orchestral works by composers whose voices are not often represented in orchestral […]


Luca Mendoza and USC Thornton jazz ensembles win in DownBeat’s 43rd Annual Student Music Awards

May 1, 2020

The USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, the Thornton Monday Night Band, and undergraduate pianist and composer Luca Mendoza were winners in DownBeat’s 43rd Annual Student Music Awards. The awards will be published in DownBeat’s June issue. The USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, led by Bob Mintzer, won in the category Large Jazz Ensemble for Graduate College Outstanding […]


Photo of Ted Hearne

Ted Hearne releases new album, Place, from New Amsterdam Records

April 29, 2020

Composition faculty member Ted Hearne released a new album, Place, from New Amsterdam Records on April 3. The 72-minute reflection on gentrification and displacement is a collaboration with poet Saul Williams. The work was set to have its West Coast premiere March 24 with the LA Philharmonic New Music Group as part of the group’s […]


Photo of Sarah Gibson on red backdrop

Juan Pablo Contreras and Sarah Gibson discuss their craft in LACO roundtable

April 23, 2020

Doctoral candidate Juan Pablo Contreras and alum Sarah Gibson, both accomplished composers, appeared in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s first installment of “Table Talk,” a series of roundtable discussions. Originally recorded in February, before safer at home orders took effect, Contreras and Gibson are joined by José Enrique González Medina and Derrick Spiva Jr. in […]


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