Emily Hsu

Major: Violin Performance; Business Administration

Graduation year: 2024

Hometown: San Jose, CA

USC Organizations: Student Symphony Orchestra of USC

Hashtag to describe yourself: #resilient

Favorite place on campus: The USC Village! 

Describe your favorite USC Thornton experience so far.

Although my first year at Thornton was completely online, I’ve cherished every studio class opportunity. I’m always inspired by the level of playing from my entire studio and aspire to be at their level one day. I love how supportive and encouraging my studio mates are, as well as the advice they have shared with me to help improve my technique and overcome performance anxiety.

What was your favorite USC GE class?

So far, I’ve only taken one GE: GESM Reading Black Love. I enjoyed watching a vast variety of films as well as the material we read and discussed, such as Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.

What is your favorite thing about being in Los Angeles?

As a student pursuing a dual-degree in Violin Performance and Business, I love how there are always abundant opportunities in Los Angeles, whether music or business related. Besides, there is always something exciting to explore, such as attending concerts, going to the beach, and checking out new food places. You’ll never feel bored in Los Angeles!

What is something you wish you knew when you were applying to college?

I wish I had the chance to reach out to more current students and alumni who studied Violin Performance in college. I would have gotten to know about the opportunities offered in each college and general campus life. Doing so would have guided me throughout the process and in making my final college decision.

What is your favorite thing about being a student at the Thornton School?

I feel that Thornton is a friendly and supportive environment for me to grow as a student and musician. Thornton is a small music school where all my classmates and professors feel like family. Although I’ve spent my entire freshman year online, I can confidently say that I know most of my classmates as well as students in the strings department. In addition, I love that Thornton has so many graduate students who I can interact with in chamber ensembles, performances, and studio classes. Although daunting at first, I’ve realized that I always look up to them and can ask them anything in general, whether it’s career related questions, about graduate school, or simply chat with them about their experiences or opinions.

Why did you choose the Thornton School? 

As a high school senior forming a college list, I wanted to attend a university with both a conservatory-level music program as well as opportunities to pursue another academic degree. Since I had vastly diverse academic interests including Business, Economics, and English, I was looking for a school with Renaissance ideals. When I learned that USC Thornton strongly supports students who have interests that lie beyond music, I was thrilled.

When I came to audition, I loved every moment: the brightly colored cardinal and gold balloons warmly greeting me as I approached Thornton, the supportive faculty listening to my audition, the most fulfilling and insightful trial lesson with my violin professor, and even the delicious ramen I enjoyed at the USC Village after my audition. Above all, I strongly felt the Trojan spirit everywhere on campus. Every student I talked to, regardless of what school they were in or what they were studying, was passionate about their studies and genuinely loved USC.