Thornton Student Ambassadors Look Back: Part 2

Portrait of Cameron Audras

On the eve of graduating, USC Thornton Student Ambassadors reflect on what they’ve learned, offering lessons and perspectives to the incoming class.


 

Portrait of Liddy Clark

Photo by Maysa Askar

Liddy Clark

B.S. Music Industry and a Business Minor (’21)

What is something you wish you knew as a first-year student at the Thornton School?

Meet as many new people as you possibly can! These are good people to have as friends because they’ll eventually be your colleagues.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at USC?

Conquest each year was always so much fun.  I loved the school spirit and concerts that they put on.

What is the best advice a Thornton faculty, staff or student gave you while studying at Thornton?

Always ask if you can give help before you ask for something from someone.

What advice would you give to new Thornton students?

Get to know everyone you can, take classes that aren’t in your major and sound interesting, and find something you’re passionate about outside of music.

What are your plans for next year?

I will be working on my artist project.  I’ve been singing for 14 years & songwriting for 9 years now. This year I’ve been able to put out more music than ever, that I’ve been writing during my time at USC, and I’m so thankful to have been in such a creatively stimulating environment!

Camilo Gonzalez-Sol

Portrait of Camilo Gonzalez-Sol

Photo by Jamie Sanger

B.M. Composition and B.A. Philosophy (’21)

What is something you wish you knew as a first-year student at the Thornton School?

Make it a priority to connect with the Thornton community as much as possible – you are going to school with some INCREDIBLE people and musicians. As an undergrad, you have so much to gain by getting to know the grad students in your program, and your peers in other divisions and majors. Show up to events and introduce yourself – it’ll pay back enormously when you’re building your professional network.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at USC?

I loved performing music by Bryce Dessner and Dai Fujikura as a keyboardist for the Thornton Symphony! I also loved going backstage at Walt Disney Concert Hall with faculty members, after concerts and for open rehearsals.

What is the best advice a Thornton faculty, staff or student gave you while studying at Thornton?

In undergrad, you are exposed to so much new knowledge at first. You might experience “growing pains,” where you gain knowledge more quickly than you develop the corresponding skills. This can be really frustrating, but if you challenge yourself, ask for help when you need it, and maintain a persevering attitude, you will blossom into a new musician by the end of college. I was told this in a private lesson, when I really needed to hear it – and it was true!

What advice would you give to new Thornton students?

There are as many opportunities as you seek out! In a city like Los Angeles, there are many more things happening than you’ll realize at first. Give yourself some time at the beginning to build relationships, and you’ll quickly see how many music-making opportunities you can become a part of.

What are your plans for next year?

Next year, I will be pursuing a Master of Music degree in composition at the University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music.

 

Portrait of Molly Tutt

Photo courtesy of Molly Tutt

Molly Tutt

B.M. Double Bass Performance and a Dynamics of Early Childhood Minor (’21)

What is something you wish you knew as a first-year student at the Thornton School?

I wish I knew to complete as many General Education requirements as possible.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at USC?

Performing at Walt Disney Concert Hall for my first-year double bass repertoire final.

What is the best advice a Thornton faculty, staff or student gave you while studying at Thornton?

To expose yourself to different forms of art at every opportunity, whether it be visual art, dance, theatre, etc.

What advice would you give to new Thornton students?

Take advantage of all that USC has to offer! Although the Thornton School offers many great opportunities to students, there are so many clubs and organizations to be involved in that can really diversify and enrich your overall experience.

What are your plans for next year?

I will be attending the Aspen Music Festival during the summer and taking a gap year to apply for school.

 

Portrait of Alex Liang

Photo courtesy of Alex Liang

Alex Liang

B.M. French Horn Performance and an Accounting Minor (’21)

What is something you wish you knew as a first-year student at the Thornton School?

I wish I knew how to ask for help. I didn’t know everyone would be so supportive, whether it was listening to a mock audition or giving me guidance in life. We can grow so much together when we have the support we need.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at USC?

In terms of performance, I loved playing Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben my freshman year, but what stands out more prominently is our weekly studio lunches after studio class. We would invite everyone in the studio and ate unlimited Good Karma pasta or pupusas from the on-campus farmers market, which ignited that warm studio atmosphere I didn’t know I wanted and needed.

What is the best advice a Thornton faculty, staff or student gave you while studying at Thornton?

Be kind to everyone and help others. Eventually, it will come back and someone will take care of you.

What advice would you give to new Thornton students?

College flies by really quickly. It can be really easy to get swallowed by all the work and practicing, but remember that there are so many great people to meet, and even better memories to make.

What are your plans for next year?

I’m not really sure yet. I’m looking into arts administration and doing finance or marketing for a non-profit arts organization and would love to keep performing. It seems like so many doors are open and are still opening, but I can’t seem to find one path to choose.

 

Portrait of Cameron Audras

Photo courtesy of Cameron Audras

Cameron Audras

B.M. Viola Performance and B.A. Environmental Studies (’21)

What is something you wish you knew as a first-year student at the Thornton School?

You are here for a reason, you earned it! I remember meeting so many incredible people when I first started, and it was easy to feel a sense of imposter syndrome. It’s important to remember that YOUR unique accomplishments and strengths set you apart, and there is no limit to what you can do now that you’re at Thornton!

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at USC?

Performing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in Walt Disney Concert Hall with the USC Thornton Symphony! My professor Yura Lee performed as soloist with us, and it was absolutely divine!

What is the best advice a Thornton faculty, staff or student gave you while studying at Thornton?

Say yes! You’ll never regret what you might learn or who you might meet. The opportunities are boundless at Thornton, and just having the guts to just go for it led to countless amazing growing experiences.

What advice would you give to new Thornton students?

Your calendar is your best friend! The sooner you master this, you’ll be ahead of the game and equipped to be intentional with every moment of every day.

What are your plans for next year?

I plan to pursue graduate school at the University of California, Santa Barbara and continue taking lessons! I’ll also continue performing across LA as much as possible.

 


The USC Thornton Student Ambassadors are currently enrolled undergraduate students at the USC Thornton School of Music and are committed to enhancing the experience for all students, present and future. Ambassadors are a great point of contact for prospective and admitted students to learn more about the USC Thornton undergraduate experience! To connect with a current ambassador, email Brittany Jimenez at seits@usc.edu. Check out the Thornton Student Ambassador – Alumni page to learn more about previous Ambassadors and their undergraduate experience.