Composition

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 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 and counterpoint. Electives in electro-acoustic composition are also available.

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.

event calendar

Upcoming events

  • Activated Chambers: A Performance Journey Featuring yMusic and Nadia Sirota

    Composers from USC Thornton and choreographers from the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance collaborate with acclaimed chamber ensemble yMusic and Nadia Sirota in Activated Chambers, featuring works for stage, screen, and multimedia installation that culminates in the West Coast premiere of professor Andrew Norman’s newest work for yMusic, created specifically for the event and accompanied by original choreography. Equally elegant and unkempt, ordered and disordered, formal and informal, “Activated Chambers” is a fusion of reactive artforms playing on and with each other as a new construction, a new compound—and a new movement. The event will close with a post-show discussion led by Nadia Sirota, yMusic violist and host of the Peabody Award–winning podcast Meet the Composer, along with USC professors Jennifer McQuiston Lott, Dawn Stoppiello, and Rick Schmunk. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts & Humanities Initiative.

    Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center

  • Activated Chambers: A Performance Journey Featuring yMusic and Nadia Sirota

    Composers from USC Thornton and choreographers from the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance collaborate with acclaimed chamber ensemble yMusic and Nadia Sirota in Activated Chambers, featuring works for stage, screen, and multimedia installation that culminates in the West Coast premiere of professor Andrew Norman’s newest work for yMusic, created specifically for the event and accompanied by original choreography. Equally elegant and unkempt, ordered and disordered, formal and informal, “Activated Chambers” is a fusion of reactive artforms playing on and with each other as a new construction, a new compound—and a new movement. The event will close with a post-show discussion led by Nadia Sirota, yMusic violist and host of the Peabody Award–winning podcast Meet the Composer, along with USC professors Jennifer McQuiston Lott, Dawn Stoppiello, and Rick Schmunk. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts & Humanities Initiative.

    Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center


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    News

    Black and white photo of Nina Shekhar

    Nina Shekhar receives Debut Fellowship from Young Musicians Foundation

    November 13, 2019

    Composition graduate student Nina Shekhar is one of the first recipients of the Debut Fellowship from the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF). The newly established program aims to empower musical artists who are committed to social justice through arts in education by providing professional development and training in areas vital to… read more

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