The composers on the USC Thornton faculty are outstanding members of the international musical community, with major commissions, awards, recordings and residencies among the faculty’s many accolades. Composition students, among the finest in the country, regularly win national awards and commissions, including: ASCAP and BMI awards, New York Symphony Orchestra First Music commissions, Aspen and Tanglewood fellowships, American Composers Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra reading sessions, among many others.

The Composition Program strongly emphasizes performance opportunities for student composers. Student works are premiered at Thornton Edge new music ensemble concerts, student department showcases and recitals, and at the annual New Music for Orchestra concert with the USC Thornton Symphony – an event which has premiered over 150 USC Thornton student orchestral works. The USC Thornton choruses, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and chamber music program provide composition students with significant reading and performance opportunities as well.

Our Program’s curriculum offers thorough training in composition, musicianship, theory, analysis, orchestration, counterpoint, and electro-acoustic composition.

Students who complete the BM, MM, or DMA in composition at USC Thornton are given priority consideration for admission to the MM Screen Scoring program, if they apply to the Screen Scoring program within one year of completing the degree in composition. Those wishing to pursue this opportunity are required to meet with the director of the Screen Scoring program as early as possible in their composition studies at USC Thornton in order to determine which additional courses (typically 7 units or less) they must successfully complete and what other steps they must take, including but not limited to submission of an application.

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