Classical Performance and Composition

USC Thornton’s Division of Classical Performance and Composition, ‘The Conservatory’, is built on a rich tradition of pairing legendary artist/faculty with extraordinary students of the highest caliber from across the globe.

Our acclaimed programs include Choral & Sacred Music, Classical Guitar, Composition, Keyboard Collaborative Arts, Keyboard Studies, Organ Studies, Strings, Vocal Arts & Opera, and Winds & Percussion.

ARTISTRY is what drives us. A world-class faculty with a passion for teaching, for true excellence and the cultivation of music in our society through the continued success and fulfillment of our students.

VISION is what guides us. The ability to recognize and anticipate the ever-changing landscape of classical music and the foresight to prepare our students for what lies ahead.

COMMUNITY is who we are. A rigorous conservatory of music, nestled within an elite research university in the musically vibrant city of Los Angeles, in which our students are mentored in an exceptionally close-knit environment and offered rich and unique opportunities for study.

“The Division of Classical Performance and Composition is essentially a rigorous conservatory of music, nestled within a prestigious research university, where students have amazing opportunities to explore a wide array of studies.  But we are more than a conservatory.  We are a strong and close-knit community where students are constantly encouraged to challenge themselves and to think outside the box. We recognize that, in order to be a truly great artist, one must thoroughly understand the culture and context of the music we perform.  And furthermore, we understand the constantly evolving landscape of classical music and have the foresight to prepare our students for what lies ahead.  In my estimation, there is no better place for such exploration and study than USC, where the arts are a proud centerpiece of the university.”

Lucinda Carver
Vice Dean
Classical Performance and Composition

event calendar

Upcoming events

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  • Fall 2017: USC Thornton Symphony

    Carl St.Clair and the USC Thornton Symphony begin the fall semester with an evocative concert of masterworks and less-familiar gems.

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • Fall 2017: USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra

    Music director Jason Goldman leads the Concert Jazz Orchestra in an evening of big band standards and original compositions.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Fall 2017: Jazz Night

    Students from Thornton's jazz programs present a series of contemporary jazz at Ground Zero Performance Café.

    Ground Zero Performance Cafe (TRO)

  • news archive

    News

    In Memoriam: Daniel Lewis, longtime leader of the USC Thornton Symphony

    July 17, 2017

    Daniel Lewis, Emeritus Professor of the USC Thornton School of Music, longtime conductor of the USC Thornton Symphony and former director of Conducting Studies, has recently passed away. He was 92. Lewis was raised in the La Mesa/San Diego area. While stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii during his stint in the… read more

    more news