USC Thornton, New World Symphony bring classical music education online through MUSAIC

By Kat Bouza

The University of Southern California Thornton School of Music was named a premiere partner in New World Symphony’s exciting new digital initiative, MUSAIC, which launches today.

New World Symphony is the nation’s orchestral academy, known for preparing graduates of distinguished music programs for leadership roles in orchestras and ensembles around the world. Its artistic director is Michael Tilson Thomas (BM, ’67, MM ’76) who has been appointed Judge Widney Professor of Music at USC Thornton beginning Fall 2015.

In the spirit of New World Symphony’s laboratory approach, MUSAIC is an interactive online community that represents a new approach to the time-honored tradition of passing musical knowledge to succeeding generations. The site will be continually updated with educational video content curated by New World Symphony and produced by partner institutions.

To mark the launch of the program, USC Thornton contributed performances by the USC Thornton Symphony and USC Thornton Wind Ensemble, originally broadcast on KCET’s Open Call, a series of orchestral excerpts featuring bassoon faculty Judith Farmer, and three videos with faculty Kristy Morrell that cover topics ranging from breathing exercises to orchestral etiquette.

“MUSAIC represents an incredible partnership with New World Symphony,” said USC Thornton Vice Dean of Division of Classical Performance Studies Lucinda Carver. “Online-based instruction has been used in many different academic areas for some time, but something this dynamic and comprehensive for music education is truly a breakthrough.”

USC Thornton is joined in the program by a select group of fellow universities and conservatories that includes: Cleveland Institute of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester), Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), Manhattan School of Music, Royal Danish Academy of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“We are so pleased that many of our peer institutions are included in the MUSAIC project,” said Carver. “It creates a wonderful opportunity for USC Thornton to enhance our reputation as one of the top music schools in the world.”

MUSAIC videos will include excerpts from master classes, coaching sessions, lessons and online conferences, as well as live hangouts and webcasts of events. Additionally, full-length performances by master faculty, world-famous musicians, and students will demonstrate the techniques discussed in selected videos.

“Some of our MUSAIC videos will be interviews with individual faculty, while others will feature faculty working with students,” said Carver. “I’m eager to work with my distinguished colleagues in the Classical Division, to highlight their skills and showcase the extraordinarily gifted faculty and students that make up the USC Thornton School of Music.”

MUSAIC will be updated weekly with new content. For more information, please visit:

TAGS: Classical Performance and Composition, Strings, Winds and Percussion,

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