Linda Insook Diaz

Major: Composition

Minor: Game Audio

Graduation year: 2022

Hometown: McLean, VA

USC Organizations: Student Symphony Orchestra of USC, USC Thornton Concert Choir, Grupo Folklórico de USC, Soon Movement

Hashtag to describe yourself: #wegotthis

Describe your favorite USC Thornton experience so far.

Thus far, my most memorable experience was definitely composing and producing the score for a student short film. Through a connection within the composition department, I was connected to a junior SCA production major director looking for original music for their film. From working with the director to spot and prepare the score to picture, to rehearsing an ensemble of my fellow classmates and friends, to recording on the John Williams scoring stage and working with the recording engineer, to working with the sound designer in post-production, to at last watching the film premiered on the big screen; the whole experience was a perfect taste of what collaboration at USC has the potential to be—and is.

What was your favorite USC GE class?

So far, my favorite USC GE class has been the freshmen seminar: GESM 131, Seminar in Social Analysis: Science Communication in a “Post-Truth” Era. In this class, Professor Cristina Visperas widely expanded and challenged my understanding of “the way things are” from a diverse analysis of topics such as: scientific objectivity, systemic racism, gender and body, disability, healthcare, state violence and terrorism, and technology – all while scrutinizing the concept of “truth.” Never had a class forced me to think so critically about the world and the details we take for granted within it, and for that, I would recommend this class to everyone!

What is your favorite thing about being in Los Angeles?

Without a doubt, my favorite aspect of living in Los Angeles is that each day is a mere $1.75 from a new adventure (with free transfers for two hours courtesy of the LA metro system). Whether heading downtown to Walt Disney Hall to catch a premiere by the LA Phil, or riding west to the Santa Monica Pier for the waves and a Jacaranda concert, or simply taking the bus a bit north to K-Town for a night of bingsoo and dukbokki with friends, nowhere is out of reach!

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

Beyond the common advice to complete your pre-screenings early and start your essays early, I wish I could tell myself that there are so many resources at every university to answer any questions I may have about the school, the curriculum, student life, and anything and everything else—all it takes is an email to reach out. I was lucky that I was able to have many of my questions answered at various college fairs I went to at my school and nearby universities, yet a great deal of stress derived from uncertainty about the programs of study I could pursue and apply to could have been avoided if I simply knew that I could ask from the get-go!

Where is your favorite place on campus?

The Doheny Library courtyard! It is the perfect place to write some music with a blueberry muffin (from LiteraTea) and the morning sun or relax in the afternoon breeze.

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

The best part of Thornton is hands-down…the fantastic people that make up the school! From the students—both undergrad and graduate students—to the incredible faculty, you never know who you might collaborate with, learn from, or be inspired by next. Everyone I have met is unique, driven, and eager to create and support one another—not to mention being down for some boba after a concert, a hike on the weekend, or simply catching up by the Gateway couches. The faculty are also all extremely dedicated to preparing students to succeed in the evolving professional world of music and have plentiful connections to share!

Why did you choose USC Thornton?

As a composer, I desire bring people together through collaborative projects that add to the incredible existing collection of music that makes life livable, meaningful, and full of peace and love; and I knew that USC Thornton could and would be the place to support that vision. On paper and from visiting campus and having the privilege to see one of the Composer’s Showcases, it was clear that Thornton was a place where colleagues and friends would be willing and eager to make and share music together—and at a very high level. The School of Cinematic Arts and the Kaufman School of Dance are also right across the way, and collaborations between the schools are not just a future possibility but a very present and encouraged reality. Furthermore, as a conservatory level school within a larger university, in addition to what is offered musically, there are literally countless opportunities to engage with and be inspired by the passions of other students (in one of the hundreds of student organizations or through open-enrollment at any of USC’s schools). To top it off, USC’s location in the heart of L.A. means that, with the sun shining, there is always a concert to go to, a new restaurant to try, a museum to see, or an adventure waiting to be had!