USC Thornton Welcomes New Faculty

By Julie Riggott

 Talented professionals take full-time roles in Jazz Studies, Music Industry and Popular Music programs.

For fall 2024, USC Thornton welcomes three new faculty members, promoted from their part-time roles at the esteemed school of music. Leading jazz singer and interpreter Luciana Souza, an eight-time Grammy nominee who sang on Herbie Hancock’s Grammy-winning album “River: The Joni Letters,” joins the faculty as associate professor of practice in Jazz Studies. Bobby Borg brings his expertise as a recording and touring artist with 30 years of experience and four books on the music business to the role of assistant professor of practice in the Music Industry program. Pianist, arranger and composer Doug Petty, currently the keyboardist for Tears for Fears and musical director for Katharine McPhee, becomes assistant professor of practice in Music Production.

Luciana Souza — Associate Professor of Practice, Jazz Studies

Photo of jazz singer & performer Luciana Souza.
Photo by Kim Fox

Brazilian-born singer and songwriter Luciana Souza is a Grammy winner and eight-time nominee who has established herself as a leading figure in jazz.

“I am thrilled to be joining the exceptional faculty at Thornton and excited to embark on this journey of knowledge and discovery with all our students,” Souza said. “I love the energy here at Thornton and the deep commitment my colleagues and the staff have. I hope to contribute to the growth of the Jazz Studies program and to the community.” 

Souza released her debut recording for Universal, “The New Bossa Nova,” in 2022. Produced by her husband, Larry Klein, it was met with widespread critical acclaim. Six of her records were nominated for a Grammy Award: “Brazilian Duos,” “North and South,” “Duos II,” “Tide,” “Duos III” and “The Book of Chet.” Her latest recording, “Cometa,” was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album at the 2024 Grammy Awards. 

Souza’s recordings also include works based on poetry: “The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Other Songs,” “Neruda,” “Speaking in Tongues” and “The Book of Longing,” for which she set poems by Leonard Cohen, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Christina Rossetti to music. In 2022, Souza was awarded a New Jazz Works Grant by Chamber Music America with funding through the 2023 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. She composed a piece for trio featuring Chico Pinheiro and Scott Colley. “Twenty-Four Musical Episodes,” with first lines of poems by Emily Dickinson, loosely tracks a day in someone’s life.

For her 2020 recording, “Storytellers,” Souza collaborated with Grammy Award-winning composer and arranger Vince Mendoza (MM 1985), who is adjunct professor in Thornton’s Jazz Studies program, and the Cologne-based WDR Big Band, on a tribute to the great songwriters of Brazil. 

From 2020-2023, she was a fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology helping curate Hearing Amazonia, a music, culture, science and sustainability project led by Fred Harris, which culminated in a trip to the Amazon and a concert at the famed Teatro Amazonas with the M.I.T. Wind Ensemble and other artists.  

Souza has performed and recorded with Herbie Hancock (on his Grammy-winning record, “River: The Joni Letters”), Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bobby McFerrin, Maria Schneider and Danilo Perez, among others. Her longstanding duo work with Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo has received accolades around the globe, and her complete discography contains more than 70 records as a side singer.

She was a prominent soloist in two works by composer Osvaldo Golijov: “La Pasion According to St. Mark” and “Oceana.” She has performed with the Bach Akademie Stuttgart, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and American Composers Orchestra. Her work in chamber music includes collaborations with the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, which was founded by Anisa Angarola while she was at USC Thornton.

Souza earned a bachelor’s degree in jazz composition from the Berklee College of Music and a master’s degree in jazz studies from the New England Conservatory of Music. In addition to teaching four years on the faculty at Berklee, she has taught at M.I.T., the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, York University in Canada, the Musik Akademie in Switzerland, UCLA and CalArts. She serves on the BMI Foundation’s Board of Trustees. 

Bobby Borg — Assistant Professor of Practice, Music Industry

Photo courtesy of Bobby Borg

Bobby Borg is a former major label, independent and DIY recording/touring artist with over 30 years of experience working with world-class musicians, songwriters, managers, producers, agents, equipment sponsors and A&R executives. As a member and founder of several rock and alternative rock bands, including one that achieved multi-platinum-selling success, he has toured the world extensively.

“Becoming part of the faculty is like becoming part of an elite family team — they are top-notch, and everyone has been very supportive and welcoming,” Borg said. “I enjoy working with students who are serious about succeeding, and Thornton has been really great at admitting only those who exhibit a burning desire for success.

I bleed cardinal and gold!” Borg added. “Working as hard as I did to graduate Phi Kappa Phi with a graduate degree from USC several years ago, spending several years as an adjunct professor at Thornton, and then being honored with the position of associate professor of practice, Music Industry, is truly an honor. Fight on!” 

Borg is the author of four books published by Rowman & Littlefield on the subject of DIY marketing and music business: “The Musician’s Handbook” (2003, 2008), “Business Basics for Musicians” (2014, 2020, 2024), “Personal Finance for Musicians” (2021),  and “Music Marketing for the DIY Musician” (2014, 2020, 2024). He has also written more than 1,000 magazine and blog articles for, Hypebot, SonicBids, Music Connection, Disc Makers and Band Zoogle. He currently runs a YouTube channel at which provides weekly music business, marketing and communication tips.

Borg served as lecturer and interim chairman of Music Business at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and as lecturer at institutions including the Berklee College of Music, UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, and the University of Miami.

As the founder of Bobby Borg Consulting, he served as the VP of special events for the Los Angeles chapter of the American Marketing Association, where he created educational and entertainment events for major corporations in Los Angeles.

Borg holds a B.A. in professional music (with honors) from the Berklee College of Music; certificates in marketing management, project management and instructor development from UCLA; and a master’s in communications management (Phi Kappa Phi) from USC.

Doug Petty — Assistant Professor of Practice, Music Production & Popular Music

Photo courtesy of Doug Petty

Pianist, arranger and composer Doug Petty is currently the keyboard player with the multi-platinum-selling group Tears for Fears, and he was the musical director for recording artist and actress Katharine McPhee for over ten years. 

“Teaching at USC Thornton has been a rewarding experience over the past three years, and I am thrilled to now join the full-time faculty,” Petty said. “Working alongside talented students and esteemed faculty members has been truly inspiring. As someone who works closely with students in both Pop and Production, I feel fortunate to collaborate with so many talented and inspiring individuals. I look forward to sharing my expertise, inspiring the next generation of musicians and continuing Thornton’s legacy of excellence.

“I deeply believe in the innovative and groundbreaking work we do in the contemporary music program,” Petty added. “I am excited to contribute to its continued development and be a part of shaping its promising future.”

As an arranger and producer, Petty has brought his signature sound and vision to records by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin and Tony Award-winning artist Audra McDonald. He produced the album “Folk Songs” on the Nonesuch label for the Kronos Quartet with Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon and Olivia Chaney. In 2007, he created custom orchestral arrangements for Rihanna for her breakout performance on the American Music Awards and in 2010 arranged “America the Beautiful” for McDonald’s performance at the BCS National Championship Game. He has also created symphonic arrangements for McPhee, who has performed them with the Boston Pops, Pacific Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and other orchestras around the country. His arrangements, as well as his keyboard playing and programming, have been featured extensively in the work of Hong Kong artist GEM, one of the most popular artists in Hong Kong and China. 

A top-call session player, Petty has recorded and performed with artists such as Rihanna, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Enrique Iglesias, Roseanne Cash, Rufus Wainwright and Colvin. In addition, his performances can be heard on soundtracks for movies such as “Happy Feet,” “Hancock,” “Horton Hears a Who” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

Petty has composed themes for a number of popular shows on the Disney channel, and his music can be heard on trailers for “Black or White,” “Best of Me” and “Black Mass,” among others. In addition, he has created custom campaigns for companies such as FOX TV, Method, Alaska Airlines, Starbucks, Disney and Disney XD. 

Petty graduated from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied piano performance, orchestration and arranging.

Featured Spotlight photo by Kim Fox.

TAGS: Jazz Studies, Music Industry, Music Technology, Popular Music,

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