Student Accomplishments from the 2019-2020 Academic Year

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 […]


Doyoung Park

Doyoung Park wins online Quebec Music International Competition

June 11, 2020

Pianist Doyoung Park, a graduate certificate candidate in Keyboard Studies, was recently awarded First Prize in the Professional category of the online 2020 Quebec Music Competition. Park won the category with her performance of the fourth movement of Samuel Barber’s Piano Sonata in E-flat minor, Op. 26. Watch the performance that won Park her first […]


Ayoni Thompson

Ayoni Thompson interviewed by V Magazine

May 21, 2020

USC Thornton Popular Music student Ayoni Thompson was interviewed by V Magazine about her music and inspiration. The artist was the “Pick of the Week” in the magazine’s Creativity 01 series highlighting up-and-coming creatives. Thompson discusses how she got her start writing music, artists that have inspired her sound, and her creative process while writing […]


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 […]


American Protege logo

Doyoung Park and Keke Luo among winners of American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition

May 1, 2020

Two students of USC Thornton’s Keyboard Studies program were named among thirteen First Place Winners of the College Students and Professional Musicians category of the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition: graduate certificate candidate Doyoung Park, a student of Daniel Pollack and Mikhail Korzhev, and master’s student Keke Luo, a student of Bernadene Blaha. […]


Rina Ritivoiu and Micah Bland publish articles in Choral Journal

April 23, 2020

Choral & Sacred Music alum Rina Ritivoiu (DMA ’19) and doctoral candidate Micah Bland have published articles in the latest issue of Choral Journal, the official publication of the American Choral Directors Association. Ritivoiu’s article, entitled “Choir as a Caretaker of Caregivers,” and Bland’s article, entitled “Mouthing the Text: The Advantages and Disadvantages,” can be […]


Polina Cherezova

Polina Cherezova publishes feature on Conrad Tao

April 13, 2020

USC Thornton Master’s student Polina Cherezova talked with pianist Conrad Tao ahead of his Power to the People! festival concert with the LA Phil. The feature was published on the LA Phil’s Watch & Listen home page. “Conrad Tao, the internationally acclaimed composer-pianist, lives in an imaginative cosmos of his own, where vulnerability reigns,” Cherezova wrote. […]


Nicholas Bentz black and white portrait

Nicholas Bentz wins first prize at Tribeca New Music’s Young Composer Competition

February 28, 2020

USC Thornton Composition master’s student Nicholas Bentz was announced as the first prize winner of the Tribeca New Music 2020 Young Composer Competition in Division 1, for ages 22-35. Bentz’s winning piece is titled “Glimpse,” a quartet for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. In addition to a monetary award, “Glimpse” will be performed at the […]


Max Opferkuch with clarinet

Max Opferkuch appears on Performance Today for radio interview and performance

February 20, 2020

Max Opferkuch, award-winning clarinetist and USC Thornton student, appeared on Minnesota Public Radio’s Performance Today program, as a 2019-2020 Young Artist In Residence. Opferkuch was interviewed by host Fred Child, and performed two pieces in the studio accompanied by pianist and Thornton DMA student Heejung Ju (GCRT ’13, MM ’16). Along with their appearance on […]


Photo of Celka Ojakangas

Celka Ojakangas selected as resident composer for Mizzou International Composers Festival

January 27, 2020

Composition alum and current DMA candidate Celka Ojakangas (MM ’18) has been selected to appear as one of eight resident composers at the 2020 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF). Ojakangas was selected from among a record 346 entrants from 24 countries. As a resident composer, Ojakangas will give presentations about her work, take composition lessons […]


Student accomplishments archive