Contemporary Music

event calendar

Upcoming events

  • Jazz Night: USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra

    Jason Goldman leads the USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra in a performance of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. The evening also includes student ensembles led by faculty members Kathleen Grace and Edwin Livingston. The Nutcracker Suite was released by famed bandleader Duke Ellington in 1960, a jazz interpretation in nine movements of "The Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky, arranged by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Shanghai Jazz: A Culture Mix

    USC Thornton School of Music professor Ron McCurdy celebrates the 1935 collaboration of celebrated Chinese musician Li Jinhui and jazz musician Buck Clayton with a unique blend of American jazz and Chinese traditional music. In 1935, Los Angeles–based musician Buck Clayton formed a jazz band called Harlem Gentlemen to perform in Shanghai. Li Jinhui, who is considered the father of Chinese popular music, had been performing in the “Paris of the East” for years when Clayton and his colleagues arrived. Clayton and Li eventually worked together to form a new and unique blend of American jazz and Chinese traditional music. This boundary-breaking performance will celebrate Li Jinhui and Buck Clayton’s collaboration. USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy and alum Gary Shields have reimagined and orchestrated three suites of Li Jinhui’s folk songs. Blending three cultures—Western art music (classical), American jazz, and traditional Chinese music—the concert will feature the Ron McCurdy Quintet, Feng Bian on piano, and Min Xiao Fen on pipa, a traditional Chinese string instrument. The performance will also include historical video footage reflecting the artists, iconic buildings, and culture of Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s. Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts & Humanities Initiative.

    Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

  • Jazz Night

    Students from Thornton's jazz programs showcase contemporary jazz works.

    The Songwriter’s Theater

  • Jazz Night featuring ALAJE and CreSCendo

    ALAJE, the USC Thornton Afro-Latin American Jazz Ensemble led by Aaron Serfaty, and CreSCendo, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble led by Sara Gazarek, headline this ongoing series of contemporary jazz.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Popular Music: First-Year Showcase

    Led by professors Andy Abad and Patrice Rushen, first-year Popular Music students explore the foundations of their craft.

    Tommy's Place (TCC)

  • Popular Music: Second-Year Showcase

    Sean Holt leads second-year Popular Music students in this showcase, focusing on stylistic nuance, groove, and ensemble technique.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Popular Music: Third-Year Showcase

    Third-year Popular Music students present original music written, arranged, and performed under the direction of professors Patrice Rushen and Paul Jackson Jr.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • JazzReach Concert

    Young student jazz ensembles from the Los Angeles community perform as part of the USC Thornton Community Engagement Programs, funded in part by the USC Good Neighbors Campaign.

    Newman Recital Hall (AHF)

  • news archive


    Photo of Amir Kelly and Ayoni Thompson

    Amir Kelly and Ayoni Thompson named among Best Young Music Artists of 2019

    November 16, 2019

    Two USC Thornton Popular Music students, Amir Kelly and Ayoni Thompson, were recently named to PopSugar Magazine’s list of Best Young Music Artists 2019. The list highlights talented up-and-coming artists who are soon to make waves in pop music. Senior Amir Kelly creates music he describes as “Blindian Pop,” a… read more

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