Contemporary Music

By bringing together jazz, industry, technology, popular music, studio guitar, and film scoring into a single learning environment, USC Thornton’s Division of Contemporary Music has created the foundation of a professional network for our students.

“Through interaction, collaboration, and a dynamic curriculum, students in the Contemporary Music Division have hands-on experiences designed to prepare them for careers in music. All under the direction of a truly remarkable faculty, each one dedicated to our student’s development as artists, professionals, and human beings.

USC Thornton has a long tradition of innovative programs. We were among the first in the nation to offer degrees in jazz studies, studio guitar, film scoring, and music industry. This tradition continues with the recent addition of our Popular Music program. Along with our outstanding classical and academic programs, we are one of the most distinctive and comprehensive music programs you will find in the world.


The results of this experience can be found in the success of our alumni. Current and former students are Grammy nominees, in-demand producers, established film composers, touring musicians, recording artists, and accomplished educators.

So, I invite you to come to the USC campus to visit the Division of Contemporary Music and see for yourself—meet with our staff and faculty, sit-in on a class, attend a showcase or concert. As you get to know more, I believe you’ll understand why we take enormous pride in our programs and in USC. I hope to meet you soon!”

Christopher Sampson
Vice Dean
Contemporary Music

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

    Alan Pasqua featured in Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize lecture

    June 8, 2017

    Jazz pianist and USC Thornton faculty member Alan Pasqua recently received an extraordinary request – to contribute improvisational background music for Bob Dylan’s 2016 Nobel Prize lecture, which was released as a video this week. Pasqua, who played in Dylan’s band in the 1970’s, had just one day to record… read more

    more news