Celebrating Morten Lauridsen – A Video Series

Video #1: Coming to USC

Composer Morten Lauridsen, National Medal of Arts recipient and distinguished professor of Composition at USC Thornton, has carved out a place in the choral repertoire of the 21st Century. His beloved works have been recorded on more than 200 albums and the National Endowment for the Arts has named Lauridsen an “American Choral Master.”

In the video, Coming to USC, Lauridsen reflects on his relationship with USC Thornton, both as an alumnus and as a faculty member of 49 years. He begins by recalling his decision to commit his life to music and recounts the experience of transferring to USC as a young student. Completely inexperienced in musical composition at the time, Lauridsen found that the pressure and encouragement from his peers and mentors provided the necessary support to boost the start of his musical career.


In this revealing series, Lauridsen will discuss his student days at USC, the inspiration he draws from the quiet of his simple retreat on Washington’s Waldron Island, the influence of poetry in his music, and his relationship with USC Thornton, both as a faculty member and three-time alumnus. Lauridsen also offers an intimate glimpse into the creation of some of his most beloved pieces, including “O Magnum Mysterium” and “Sure on this Shining Night.”



Video #1: Coming to USC

Laurisden recalls his decision to commit his life to music and recounts the experience of transferring to USC as a young student. Watch >

Video #2: Inspiration from Waldron Island

Laurisden has always found inspiration and refuge on Washington’s Waldron Island, where he continues to spend part of each year. Watch >

Video #3: Early Days at USC

Lauridsen’s path as a composer wasn’t always clear – here, he speaks frankly about his struggles and inspirations as a young musician-in-training. Watch >

Video #4: The Influence of Poetry

Laurisden reflects on his life-long love of poetry, which first emerged while a student at USC. Watch >

Video #5: “O Magnum Mysterium”

Lauridsen shares his inspiration for one of his most beloved choral works, which originated with a painting. Watch >

Video #6: Connecting Poetry & Music

Lauridsen reflects on one of his favorite poems by Pablo Neruda – “When I die I want your hands upon my eyes.” Watch >

Video #7: Freshman Theory & Film Scoring

The esteemed composer explains how teaching freshmen has shaped his experience as a professor at USC. Watch >

Video #8: “Sure on this Shining Night”

Based on a poem by James Agee, Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure on this Shining Night” has become one of the composer’s most recognized choral works. Watch >

Video #9: Advice to Young Musicians

Lauridsen shares some of the advice that he believes is critical to the success of young musicians – and to young composers, in particular. Watch >

Video #10: Over 50 Years at USC

The distinguished composer reflects on his time at USC and what the school has meant to him. Watch >