Dr. Iris S. Levine named commencement speaker for USC Thornton School of Music

By Deanna Gasparyan

Photo of Dr. Iris S. Levine sitting at a piano smiling.
Music educator, choral conductor and VOX Femina chorus founder Dr. Iris S. Levine. (Photo: Tom Zasadzinski/Cal Poly Pomona)

Accomplished music educator, choral conductor and VOX Femina chorus founder Dr. Iris S. Levine will take the podium as commencement speaker for the USC Thornton School of Music graduates. The Thornton commencement ceremony is scheduled for May 12, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. and will take place at Founders Park. 

“I am honored to be selected as the 2023 outstanding alumna for the Thornton School of Music,” said Levine. “I have tremendous pride in having received my doctorate from USC, and my experience there holds a warm place in my heart and positively influenced my life. As an alum, I’m grateful for the deep connection I have to Thornton and its continued excellence. I proudly stand as a lifelong member of the USC family.”   

Dr. Iris S. Levine is a leader in music academia and choral conducting. Her career’s trajectory to faculty emerita status at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona spans 32 years, starting from her position as professor of music, then department chair, dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, interim dean of the College of Education and Integrative Studies, and advancing to interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. She is known for her contributions to Cal Poly Pomona as faculty and administrator, having led university choirs, taught courses in conducting and music education, and worked to diversify the school’s faculty and curriculum. 

In addition to her extensive academic accomplishments, Dr. Levine is nationally recognized for her excellence in choral conducting. She is the founder and artistic director of VOX Femina Los Angeles, the premier women’s chorus in the city. Utilizing her expertise in women’s choral literature, Dr. Levine has led VOX Femina on an impressive 26-year history, with an unprecedented 50 commissions for women’s voices. Through extraordinary and innovative concert programming she brought VOX into prominence in the choral community by way of appearances at American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conventions, Chorus America conferences, GALA Chorus conferences, and over 300 appearances throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Dr. Levine is an active member of ACDA and a sought-after presenter at regional and national conferences. Her past posts with the association include state, regional and national repertoire & standards chair for women’s choruses.

As editor of the Iris S. Levine Treble Choral Series for Pavane Publishing, Dr. Levine wrote the chapter on “Working with the Women’s Community Choir” in the GIA publication, Conducting Women’s Choirs: Strategies for Success. She is also a contributing author of Choral Reflections: Insights from American Choral Conductor-Teachers. She is highly pursued as guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator for choral festivals throughout the country.

Dr. Levine earned her DMA degree in Choral Music from USC Thornton under the mentorship of Rod Eichenberger, James Vail and Morten Lauridsen. She received her master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Temple University, where she studied with Alan Harler, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of New Hampshire.


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