Kristy Morrell

Associate Professor of Practice

  • Program:
    Winds & Percussion
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition
  • Instrument:
    French Horn


Kristy Morrell has been a member of the USC Thornton faculty for over two decades as instructor of horn and chamber music. Currently she chairs the department of Winds, Brass and Percussion. She has been a member of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1997, and performs frequently with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera, Pasadena Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pacific Symphony and New West Symphony. She is also a respected recording artist, performing on numerous motion pictures, television soundtracks and records.

Kristy has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the USC Thornton School of Music, where she also received her Master of Music. She received a Bachelor of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. In 1993 she was the First Place winner of the International Horn Society solo competition, and in 1997 she was the First Place winner of the solo competition at the International Women’s Brass Conference. Her principal teachers were Verne Reynolds, Vincent DeRosa and James Decker.

She resides in Southern California with her husband Steve, daughter Libby, and son, Russell.


A Breathing Exercise with USC Thornton School of Music faculty Kristy Morrell

Professional experience

Career Highlights:

  • Soloist at the 2005 convention of the International Horn Society.
  • Performed on the sound tracks for hundreds of motion pictures.

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Recipient of the USC Steven B Sample Teaching and Mentoring Award, 2012
  • First place winner, International Horn Society solo competition, 1993
  • First place winner, International Women’s Brass Society solo competition, 1997

Music Festivals:

  • Los Angeles Bach Festival
  • San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival
  • The Lancaster Festival
  • The Ojai Festival


  • Morrell, Kristy. Musician, Heal Thyself A Self-Help Guide for Hornists, Glen Lyon Books, Montrose , CA 2014
  • Morrell, K and Bosler, A. (2008) “Prepare for Success, how to play your best college audition.” Publication in International Horn Society web Site. March 2008
  • Helfter, S., and Morrell, K. (2005) “Performing Musicians in the Schools: The preparation and Training of Musician Teaching- Artists.” The paper was presented at the 2005 Symposium of the Society for Music Teacher Education, in Greensboro, NC.

Academic degrees

  • DMA, USC Thornton School of Music, 1997
  • MM, USC Thornton School of Music, 1994
  • BM, Eastman School of Music, 1991

Studied with:

Verne Reynolds, Vincent DeRosa, James Decker