Alumni News

Photo of Alexander Lloyd Blake

Alexander Lloyd Blake featured in The New York Times

February 16, 2021

Choral & Sacred Music alum Alexander Lloyd Blake (DMA ‘19), was recently featured in an article in The New York Times discussing Tonality, the Los Angeles-based choral ensemble he founded. The article highlights seven music organizations like Tonality that have been working toward racial equity in the classical music industry. The article shares what inspired […]


Jensen McRae holding hands to her face, standing in front of a greenery covered wall

Jensen McRae named to #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021

February 4, 2021

Singer-songwriter and Popular Music alum Jensen McRae (BM ‘19) has been named as one of the 21 artists in YouTube Music’s #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021. Each artist in the program will receive seed funding to develop their YouTube channels as well as support from YouTube through training, workshops, and networking opportunities. The program is […]


Side by side images of Scott Rieker and Irene Apanovitch

Irene Apanovitch-Leites and Scott Rieker publish study in Choral Journal

February 2, 2021

Choral & Sacred Music alumni Irene Apanovitch-Leites (DMA ’19) and Scott Rieker (DMA ’19) co-authored an article in the February issue of Choral Journal, which focuses on vocal pedagogy. Apanovitch-Leites and Rieker’s article, titled “COVID and the Choral Educator: Preparedness, Perceptions, Attitudes, and a Way Forward,” is a study that details the impact of COVID-19 […]


Perry Botkin Jr. wearing sunglasses and sitting beside a piano keyboard

Grammy-winning TV and film composer Perry Botkin Jr. dies at 87

February 1, 2021

Perry Botkin Jr., a GRAMMY Award-winning and Oscar-nominated television and film composer, and alumnus of USC Thornton, died on January 18 at the age of 87. The acclaimed arranger was well-known for his composition of the themes to “Happy Days,” “Mork and Mindy,” and “The Young and the Restless.” Botkin’s musical career began when he […]


Portrait of Gerald Clayton

Gerald Clayton scores new documentary about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 27, 2021

GRAMMY Award-nominated composer, pianist and USC Thornton alum Gerald Clayton (BM ‘07) wrote the score for “MLK/FBI,” a newly released award-winning documentary directed by Sam Pollard that uncovers the extent of the FBI’s targeted surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sub Pop described Clayton’s composition of the documentary’s theme as “a gorgeous, […]


Chris O'Brien holding a trumpet

Chris O’Brien wins position with U.S. Navy Band

January 25, 2021

Chris O’Brien (GCRT ’20), a trumpeter and alum of USC Thornton’s Winds & Percussion program, has won a position with the U.S. Navy Band. He is one of many Thornton alumni to join the prestigious band. O’Brien is also a co-founder and current member of Two Button Brass, a Los Angeles-based brass quintet founded by […]


Portrait of Dale Trumbore

Dale Trumbore shares virtual chorus experience in The Voice of OC

January 21, 2021

Dale Trumbore (MM ‘11), an alum of USC Thornton’s Composition program, was featured in The Voice of OC in an article about how the Orange County Women’s Chorus adapted its programming to offer unique online events. Trumbore was commissioned to compose a new piece, “What We Hand Over,” for the chorus’s holiday event, and shares […]


Peter Boyer pictured smiling

Peter Boyer composes music for presidential inauguration

January 20, 2021

Composer and USC Thornton alum Peter Boyer (GCRT ’96) received the honor of composing a new piece for the festivities surrounding the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden. Boyer was featured in the Los Angeles Times in a story about the significance of the commission. Titled “Fanfare for Tomorrow,” the piece was commissioned to […]


Portrait of Jerry Blackstone in suit and tie

Jerry Blackstone is artistic director of new documentary series about choral singing

January 13, 2021

Dr. Jerry Blackstone (DMA ‘86), GRAMMY Award-winner, USC Thornton alumnus, and former Artist in Residence with Thornton’s Choral & Sacred Music program, is the Artistic Director of the upcoming documentary series about choral singing in the U.S., “Choral Singing in America: Nurturing the Human Soul.” The series is being developed in response to the COVID-19 […]


Judith Farmer portrait

Judith Farmer releases new album of chamber music for bassoon

January 12, 2021

Winds & Percussion faculty member Judith Farmer has released a new album of chamber music for bassoon, Judith Farmer Plays Favorites. The album includes performances by Strings faculty member Andrew Shulman and alum Vicki Ray (DMA ’88), as well as a recording of a piece by alum composer Gernot Wolfgang (GCRT ’94). The album is […]


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