Strings News

Lina Bahn offers auditioning advice on The Violin Channel

December 6, 2017

The Violin Channel recently turned to USC Thornton Strings faculty member Lina Bahn for its “Ask the Pros” series on the topic of auditioning for music schools. In addition to offering advice about preparation, Bahn pointed to the shortcomings of the audition process as opportunities to grow and develop as a musician. Her tips for […]


Violin alumni win orchestral positions

November 30, 2017

Two USC Thornton Strings alumni have recently won orchestral positions. Helen Kim (BM ’09) was appointed principal 2nd violin of the San Francisco Symphony in the spring of 2017. And Michelle Black (BM ’11) won a first violin position with the Indianapolis Symphony in May. Both were students of faculty member Margaret Batjer, who serves […]


This Saturday, Thornton celebrates new music from “Noon to Midnight” with the LA Phil

November 14, 2017

On Saturday, November 18th, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will welcome the city’s most adventurous music audiences to Walt Disney Concert Hall for a day-long celebration of contemporary composition, Noon to Midnight. In addition to performances by Steven Schick, Rage Thormbones, LA Signal Lab, Los Angeles Electric 8, wild Up, red fish blue fish, gnarwhallaby, SASSAS, […]


Thornton students sweep video performance competition

November 14, 2017

Students from USC Thornton’s Classical Division have swept the first James Ramos International Video Competition, a joint venture of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) and Social Media Works. Recognizing that Youtube and Facebook have become important video platforms for musicians to audition and to share their artistry with the world, the competition […]


Marek Szpakiewicz appointed Director of String Studies at Azusa Pacific

October 27, 2017

Cellist and USC Thornton alumnus Marek Szpakiewicz (MM ’01, DMA ’08) has been appointed Director of String Studies at Azusa Pacific University’s School of Music. Szpakiewicz has been teaching cello and chamber music at APU since 2005 and has served as Director of Chamber Music since 2014. His students have won top prizes at numerous […]


Argus Quartet wins prestigious Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition

October 24, 2017

The Argus Quartet recently won first prize in the annual Concert Artists Guild’s Victor Elmaleh Competition. The quartet includes USC Thornton alumni Clara Kim (DM ’15, violin) and Jason Issokan (MM ’10, violin), along with violist Dana Kelley and cellist Jo Whang. Along with co-winner, pianist Dominic Cheli, the quartet will receive a cash prize […]


Five Thornton musicians win principal positions with the American Youth Symphony

October 2, 2017

Five USC Thornton students and alumni have become principal chairs with the Los Angeles-based American Youth Symphony for the 2017-18 season. Student Tiffany Chung will serve as principal second violin, alongside principal oboe Laura Arganbright, and principal clarinet Sergio Coelho (GRCT ’16), while alumna Lieza Hansen (MM ’16) will serve as principal bassoon and Amy […]


Applications are now open for the LA Phil’s Hack Music LA

August 29, 2017

Applications are now open for Hack Music LA, a two-day event (October 7 & 8) that will bring together 75 of the country’s most creative makers to develop tools and experiences to expand music for all. The innovative, music-inspired hackathon is hosted by the LA Phil in partnership with the USC Thornton School of Music […]


Alumna Michelle Tseng joins the LA Phil

August 18, 2017

Violinist Michelle Tseng (’13, GCRT ’17), an alumna of the USC Thornton Strings program, recently joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) as a Second Violinist. She has performed as a soloist with the Torrance, Downey, Peninsula, South Coast, USC, and Rio Hondo Symphonies and served as concertmaster under conductors David Robertson, Alan Gilbert, and […]


The Calder Quartet signs recording deal with Pentatone

June 27, 2017

The Calder Quartet, which includes USC Thornton alumni Benjamin Jacobson (BM’01, MM’07, violin), Andrew Bulbrook (BM ’02, violin), Jonathan Moerschel (BM ’01, MM ’03, viola) and Eric Byers (BM ’03, cello), has signed an exclusive recording deal with Pentatone. The ensemble, which is known for its artful interpretations of both classical and contemporary repertoire, will […]


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