Jazz Studies

Overview

As one of the first free-standing jazz studies departments in the nation, the USC Thornton School was a pioneer in the development of an academic curriculum dedicated to the one true American musical art form. With a world-renown faculty, the Jazz Studies department prepares young musicians for success in the professional performance arena. Recent graduates have assumed prominent roles in jazz and popular music across the nation. The USC Thornton Jazz Studies department consistently ranks in the top three to four in the nation in major jazz periodicals.

event calendar

Upcoming events

  • Jazz Night featuring the Jazz Honors Combo

    The Jazz Honors Combo, a select group of USC Thornton jazz musicians led by Jason Goldman, headlines this ongoing showcase of contemporary jazz at Carson Center.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Jazz Night

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

    The Songwriter’s Theater

  • Jazz Night featuring the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra and Ricky Peterson

    The USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra shines with special guest Ricky Peterson on organ and vocals. A longtime collaborator with artists such as Dave Sanborn and Prince, Peterson is currently touring with Fleetwood Mac.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Jazz Night featuring the USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra

    The USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra headlines an evening of contemporary jazz with a tribute to Nat King Cole's to celebrate the iconic musician's 100th birthday.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Jazz Night featuring Vocal Jazz and Studio Guitar Duos

    Duos from Thornton's jazz and studio guitar programs team up to showcase contemporary jazz works.

    The Songwriter’s Theater

  • Jazz Night featuring the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra and Vince Mendoza with guest vocalist Luciana Souza

    The USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, led by music director Bob Mintzer, and guest vocalist Luciana Souza present an evening of standards and original compositions including new works for large jazz ensemble by faculty member Vince Mendoza.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Jazz Night

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

    The Songwriter’s Theater

  • Jazz Night featuring ALAJE

    ALAJE, the USC Thornton Afro-Latin American Jazz Ensemble led by Aaron Serfaty, headlines this ongoing series featuring USC Thornton jazz ensembles.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Jazz Night featuring the Jazz Honors Combo

    The Jazz Honors Combo, a select group of USC Thornton jazz musicians led by Jason Goldman, headlines this ongoing showcase of contemporary jazz at Carson Center.

    Carson Center (CTV)

  • Jazz Night: USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra

    The USC Thornton Concert Jazz Orchestra headlines an evening of contemporary jazz featuring main title themes from famous cartoons.

    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


  • more videos

    Videos


    news archive

    News

    Billy Childs to join Berklee as visiting scholar

    July 18, 2019

    USC Thornton alumnus and celebrated jazz musician Billy Childs ’79 will serve as a visiting scholar at Berklee College of Music for the 2019-20 academic year. During his stint in Boston, Childs, a five-time GRAMMY award recipient, will teach jazz composition classes, coach a student ensemble and offer master classes.

    more news

    all ensembles

    Ensembles

    all USC Thornton faculty

    Faculty