At the legendary Capitol Records' Studio A, the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra teamed with Thornton's Music Production and Screen Scoring programs for a special recording session. (Photos by Dario Griffin/USC)
Without the ability to bring musicians together in a traditional sound stage, such as the Capital Records stage pictured here, the USC Thornton Screen Scoring program seeks custom engineering solutions to allow ensembles to create music from afar. (Photo: Dario Griffin/USC)
“Postcard from Morocco’s” seven travelers, portrayed by (clockwise, from top-left) Anthony Moreno, Irena Preda, Edmond Rodriguez, Zhengyi Bai, Joanna Ceja, Kyle Chase, and Sunwoo Park. (Photo by Kristina Jacinth/USC)
The USC Thornton Opera program's new production of “Postcard from Morocco” opened this week.
Composer Craig Hella Johnson worked closely with the USC Thornton Chamber Singers and guest musicians for the April 8th performance of his oratorio, “Considering Matthew Shepard.” (Photos by Lawrence K. Ho/USC)
The USC Kaufman School of Dance led a collaboration with the yMusic ensemble and USC artists, Caught in the Chamber. (Photo by Carolyn DiLoreto/USC)
yMusic in rehearsal. (Photo by Jennifer Lott)
The USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra undertook an exciting performance with the band Thumpasaurus.
Carl St.Clair led the USC Thornton Symphony and USC Thornton Choral Artists in a sold-out performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. (Photos by Lawrence K. Ho)
And sophomores from USC Thornton and USC Kaufman, including Sydney Mariano, Mariana Carrillo, Sophie Mantieu, Adam Vesperman, John Mietus, and Amaria Stern, participated in the Choreographers & Composers collaboration. (Photo by Mary Malaney)
Collaboration—it has long been a buzzword in our hallowed halls, but the phenomenon truly flourished this semester, with exciting, collaborative projects making waves across USC Thornton and the entire university.
The USC School of Dramatic Arts’ recent production of West Side Story marked a significant milestone – the first collaboration between USC’s three performing arts schools, incorporating singers and musicians from USC Thornton, along with dancers from the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. The production was also directed by Ken Cazan, chair of Thornton’s Vocal Arts & Opera program, and sold out its run of 10 performances.
The USC Thornton Opera program’s new production of Postcard from Morocco, which opened this week, turns the tables, welcoming USC School of Dramatic Arts faculty member John DeMita as stage director, along with a creative team of Dramatic Arts students, faculty, and alumni. The opera, which features seven outstanding Vocal Arts students, as well as musicians from the USC Thornton Symphony, continues this Friday and Sunday at Bing Theatre.
Last week, the USC Thornton Chamber Singers welcomed a gifted collaborator, composer Craig Hella Johnson, performing his moving oratorio, Considering Matthew Shepard, before a packed audience at Bovard Auditorium. Johnson worked closely with the ensemble and guest musicians to prepare the award-winning work, which was presented by USC’s Visions and Voices – the Arts & Humanities Initiative.
Students from Thornton’s Jazz Studies, Screen Scoring, and Music Production programs recently returned to Capitol Records in Hollywood for another recording session in the famed Studio A, working, as always, with legendary engineer and producer Al Schmitt.
Since the founding of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance in 2015, USC Kaufman and USC Thornton have enjoyed many opportunities for collaboration. This semester saw two: last month’s Choreographers & Composers event, which brought together sophomore students in the creation of new dance works; and the April 4th Caught in the Chamber event, in which the yMusic ensemble, Thornton faculty composer Andrew Norman, Kaufman professor Jennifer McQuiston Lott, and music video director Nathan Johnson, came together to create a live, “hybrid music video.”
This semester, the USC Thornton Symphony presented a work that, by its very nature, demands collaboration: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. On March 30th, Carl St.Clair led the monumental work in a sold-out performance at Bovard Auditorium with the USC Thornton Chamber Singers and USC Thornton Concert Choir, as well as a host of guest soloists. And just two weeks later, St.Clair, also music director of the Pacific Symphony, welcomed the USC Choral Artists to the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo, to join the celebrated orchestra in a second performance of Beethoven’s iconic work.
In recent months, we’ve also seen collaborations between the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra and the funk-fusion band Thumpasaurus, a new festival for emerging artists founded by students from across Thornton, and a Miles Davis-inspired, cross-genre collaboration between classical and jazz faculty and alumni.
And next week, Thornton’s Strings, Winds & Percussion, and Vocal Arts programs will come together for a newly-revamped Chamber Music Festival showcasing the extraordinarily talented students of Thornton’s Classical Division.
What does 2018-19 hold in terms of exciting and innovative collaborations? Keep an eye on this space to find out!