Jazz Studies News

Ambrose Akinmusire in dark sweater with orange backdrop

Ambrose Akinmusire wins DownBeat Magazine critics poll in trumpet category

October 6, 2020

USC Thornton Jazz Studies alum Ambrose Akinmusire (MM ’07) 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 […]


Album cover art featuring repeated images of flower blossoms and the name "Avellana"

Jazz Studies students form new jazz-pop group, release debut EP

October 1, 2020

A quartet of undergraduate students in USC Thornton’s Jazz Studies program came together to form new jazz-pop group Avellana, and released their debut EP of the same name on Sept. 18. The group is comprised of vocalist Hazle Thunes (BA ‘22), pianist Austen Mendoza (BM ‘22), bassist Dario Bizio (BM ‘23), and drummer Carter Boyle […]


Rick Schmunk in black shirt looking into camera

Rick Schmunk and Daniel Weidlein quoted in article about remote music production

September 29, 2020

Rick Schmunk, chair of USC Thornton’s Music Technology Program, and Jazz Studies alum Daniel Weidlein (BM ‘12) offered their thoughts on music education and production during the pandemic in a recent article on MajoringinMusic.com. Schmunk says that for students of music production and technology, the skills they learn in the classroom give them a leg […]


Ambrose Akinmusire in dark sweater with orange backdrop

Ambrose Akinmusire and Gerald Clayton perform in NEA Jazz Masters ceremony

September 8, 2020

USC Thornton alumni Ambrose Akinmusire (MM ’07) and Gerald Clayton (BM ’07) performed in the virtual edition of this year’s National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters ceremony. The virtual concert on August 20 honored Dorthaan Kirk, Bobby McFerrin, Roscoe Mitchell and Reggie Workman with a packed lineup of performances and speakers. Pianist Clayton performs […]


jason goldman in red jacket and sunglasses

Jason Goldman releases “Hypnotized,” new EP of jazz arrangements

September 2, 2020

Jason Goldman, chair of the Jazz Studies program and a celebrated producer and arranger, has released a new EP, “Hypnotized,” featuring arrangements from the American Songbook and original songs in the same style. Known for his award-winning arrangements with singer Michael Bublé, Goldman, often known professionally as “Spicy G,” featured three exceptional vocalists: Erin Bentlage, […]


Portrait of Tish Oney on black backround

Tish Oney publishes Peggy Lee biography for icon’s centennial

August 19, 2020

Jazz Studies alum Tish Oney (DMA ’07) celebrated the 100th birthday of music icon Peggy Lee with the publication of her new biography, “Peggy Lee: A Century of Song,” released in July. Oney’s book focuses on Lee’s artistic development, cultural impact, musicianship, and legacy as a songwriter. Oney’s exploration of Peggy Lee’s legacy began as […]


black and white picture of Simon Hwang playing saxophone

Simon Hwang sets Cleopatra’s life to music

August 13, 2020

Simon Hwang, a double major in Jazz Studies at USC Thornton and Business Administration at USC Dornsife, took an unconventional approach to his final project for a general education course, foregoing a traditional term paper to create two new jazz compositions based on the life of Cleopatra. His cross-disciplinary project was recently highlighted in a […]


Billy Childs discusses upcoming album in JazzTimes interview

August 10, 2020

USC Thornton alum and GRAMMY Award-nominated artist Billy Childs (BM ’79) is set to release a new album on Aug. 28, and reflects on its influences in a recent JazzTimes interview. Childs reminisces on the artists and projects that have inspired his music, such as his time playing at World Stage, a historic art and […]


Photo of Sara Gazarek

Sara Gazarek interviewed for LondonJazz News

August 5, 2020

Jazz Studies faculty member 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. “Honestly, right now feels incredibly important,” she says. “Not just for me, but for the world – […]


Eli Brueggemann pictured by brick wall

USC Thornton faculty and alumni nominated for Emmy Awards

July 28, 2020

USC Thornton faculty and alumni were nominated in the 72nd Emmy Awards, announced on July 28. Laura Karpman, a faculty member in the celebrated Screen Scoring program, received two nominations for her work on the Discovery Channel’s “Why We Hate.” Karpman was nominated in the categories of Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music and Outstanding […]


News archive