Chris Erling

Major: BM Piano Performance

Minor: East Asian Area Studies

Graduation year: 2021

Hometown: Snohomish, WA

USC Organizations: Nikkei Student Union

Hashtag to describe yourself: #¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Describe your favorite USC Thornton experience so far.

“Revolutionary Dance” was the name of the program to one of the most memorable concerts I have ever attended. This concert put on by the USC Thornton Symphony was comprised of two masterworks of the 20th century: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and the second suite from Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé. The sound, experience, and the musical colors in Bovard Auditorium that night are what I could only ever describe as being otherworldly. This was also one of the first Thornton Symphony concerts of the school year and of my USC college career. These two pieces also happen to be among my favorite orchestral works so having attended with a fresh group of friends made for not only an incredible concert but a meaningful bonding experience as we cherished the night.

What was your favorite USC GE class?

I have not had a clear favorite yet!

What is your favorite thing about being in Los Angeles?

The thriving cultural scene and all that it includes. There are few places in this country where you can find and enjoy almost any cuisine, attend all kinds of concerts from world-class artists, spend the day at a museum/historic landmark, or soak up the sun just about all year long. It would be very difficult to run out of new things to try or experience in a city that continues to grow and flourish.

What is something you wish you knew when you were applying to college?

To plan my audition repertoire a little earlier. I kind of threw things together at the end of the summer before I was to apply for colleges and I wish I had put in some more planning into that and started the beginning of spring or so.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

Alumni Park, especially when exiting Doheny Library facing Bovard Auditorium. This is one of the most iconic areas on campus and truly shows off USC’s beautiful scenery and stunning architecture. But, also the 24-hour Gateway practice rooms because I practically live there and love the convenience of being able to practice whenever I like.

What is your favorite thing about being a student at the Thornton School?

It’s truly a unique experience being able to attend a renowned music institution that is also ranked highly in its classical, jazz, and contemporary divisions. Because of this, you get to befriend and meet talented students of a diverse array of interests. It’s always so cool to hear about your peers’ current musical endeavors, school activities, and career goals because everyone always has something different going for them.

Why did you choose the Thornton School?

I knew by the time I was applying for colleges that I was set on pursuing music, but didn’t want to be limited to the study of music. Because of this, I knew that a university was more so what would best suit my needs. After visiting USC the fall before I began applying to colleges, I really fell in love with the school. I wanted to be in a rigorous musical program but also in a university with students across all backgrounds and that is exactly what my experience at Thornton has provided me with thus far. Also, it doesn’t hurt that we have an incredible piano faculty teaching so many talented pianists who all encourage and support each other.