Modern guitar ensembles Superaxe, TU2 and TU4 generally consist of four electric guitarists with bass and drums. Their wide-ranging repertoire includes student arrangements created for study and performance. The music of seminal artists such as Frank Zappa, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Vulfpeck, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and D’Angelo can be found in the ensembles’ libraries.
Alumni from the modern guitar ensembles are teachers, department chairs and deans at institutions around the world. Many have performed or recorded with notable acts such as John Legend, Vampire Weekend, Gwen Stefani, Thundercat, Elton John, Madonna, U2, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira as well as on hit television programs such as American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and Glee.
Critically acclaimed guitarist Richard Smith has a plethora of solo recordings that have established him as a veteran of the contemporary music world.
With a faculty of world-class touring and recording guitarists, the USC Thornton Studio Guitar program is considered one of the finest guitar graduate programs in the world.
USC Thornton’s modern guitar ensembles have won first-place awards at over a dozen jazz festival competitions on the West Coast and in the Southwest. In the past, these ensembles have hosted Guthrie Govan, Carl Verheyen, Scott Henderson, Robben Ford, Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour and others in a concert, recording or master class setting.
Visit our season’s calendar of events for upcoming performances at the School of Music, including the USC Thornton modern guitar ensembles, or connect with us on social media for more @USCThornton content.