Composition

Overview

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 Tangelwood 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 – 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 and counterpoint. Electives in electro-acoustic composition are also available. Student who complete the BM, MM, or DMA in composition at USC Thornton are given priority status for admission to the MM Screen Scoring program. Those wishing to pursue this option 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 they must successfully complete (typically 5 units or less), and what other steps they must take (including but not limited to submission of an application), to secure their spot in the Screen Scoring program.

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Spotlights

event calendar

Upcoming events

  • Thornton Edge

    Donald Crockett leads Thornton Edge, Thornton’s new music group, in a program featuring recent music for voice and ensemble, including works by David Lang and Thornton student composer and vocalist, Tamzin Elliott.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • USC Thornton Wind Ensemble: Scenes and Serenades

    H. Robert Reynolds and Sharon Lavery lead the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble in a performance featuring A Glimpse of the River by Kenny Regan, co-winner of the Wind Ensemble Composition Contest. The evening also includes Dzubay’s Fanfare, Verne Reynolds’ Scenes, Strauss’ Serenade, Op.7, and Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy.

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • Composition Showcase

    The venerable USC Thornton Composition program presents two concerts showcasing new solo, chamber, and vocal works by student composers. The celebrated program has included Pulitzer Prize finalists and major award winners among its recent alumni. The first program will take place at 3:00 PM and the second at 7:00 PM.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Composition Showcase

    The venerable USC Thornton Composition program presents two concerts showcasing new solo, chamber, and vocal works by student composers. The celebrated program has included Pulitzer Prize finalists and major award winners among its recent alumni. The first program will take place at 3:00 PM and the second at 7:00 PM.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Thornton Edge

    Donald Crockett leads Thornton Edge, Thornton’s new music group, in a program of classic works for large ensemble from the late second and early third millennium.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • Winter Gala: Brightest and Best

    Celebrate the holidays in elegant style with the annual Brightest & Best winter gala, a scholarship fundraiser that provides substantial support for USC Thornton students. The event will feature 250 singers and instrumentalists ringing in the season with carols and songs in an evening of pageantry for the entire community to enjoy. For ticket information about this scholarship fundraiser, call (213) 740-6474, or visit music.usc.edu/wintergala

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • Caught in the Chamber: A Music and Dance Concert-in-Process with yMusic

    In two very special performances, yMusic, award-winning composer and USC Thornton faculty member Andrew Norman, dancer/choreographer and USC Kaufman professor Jennifer McQuiston Lott, and avant-pop music-video director Nathan Johnson will create a hybrid “chamber music video.” Hailed by NPR as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” yMusic is an ensemble of six innovative New York City instrumentalists who are equally at home performing with popular musicians like Björk and commissioning scores from rising orchestral composers. Share in their creative journey at this unique event, which will also feature new works by students from the USC Thornton School of Music and USC Kaufman School of Dance. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities

    Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center


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    News

    Composition alumnus wins two prestigious awards

    August 2, 2017

    USC Thornton Composition alumnus Eric Guinivan (MM ’08, DMA ’11) recently received a commission from Harvard University’s Fromm Music Foundation, as well as the Andrew Imbrie Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for “a composer of demonstrated artistic merit in mid-career.” An accomplished composer and GRAMMY Award-nominated… read more

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