The Emphasis is on Excellence


“One of the challenges of all music schools—and I think us, in particular—is how to reflect where we are. We are in the middle of Los Angeles, one of the creative capitals of the world,” says Robert Cutietta, Dean of USC Thornton. “Our challenge is to create a school that reflects Los Angeles.”

Los Angeles is a center of music and all art, but don’t ask us. Let John Williams tell you. “I think over the last 60 or 70 years at least, Los Angeles has been a great hub of the highest level of music activity in our country,” says the celebrated composer and longstanding friend of USC Thornton.

The school has embraced bold thinking to reflect our location, launching innovative new programs while upholding the great legacy of Western music.

“The emphasis is on excellence, and it is on collaboration,” says Patrice Rushen, chair of the Popular Music program and a USC alumna herself.

“One of the things I’m often asked is, ‘Are we preparing students for the real world?’” says Dean Cutietta. “I love to say, ‘No. We are training our students to go out and change the world into a better place. That’s what artists do.”

TAGS: Alumni, Arts Leadership, Chamber Music, Choral and Sacred Music, Classical Division, Classical Guitar, Classical Performance and Composition, Community Engagement, Composition, Conducting, Contemporary Music, Contemporary Music Division, Early Music Performance, Music Teaching and Learning, Organ Studies, Popular Music, Research and Scholarly Studies, Screen Scoring, Strings, Studio Guitar, Vocal Arts, Vocal Arts and Opera, Winds and Percussion,

Never miss a story

Subscribe to USC Thornton’s e-newsletter