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At the USC Thornton School of Music, we celebrate our location in Los Angeles, the nation’s center for creativity and innovation. As the music profession changes, we are at the forefront of a forward-thinking educational model that prepares students for careers at the highest level as performers, composers, educators and industry leaders.

Explore stories from our Divisions of Classical Performance & Composition, Contemporary Music, and Scholarly & Professional Studies below.
 
 
 

ON THE HORIZON: BRIGHT FUTURES • Classical music is as vibrant as it has ever been, but it’s changing and so are we. We’ve created a new undergraduate curriculum that will challenge students to develop a distinct artistic voice and create a thriving career in classical music. We’re calling it the ReDesign. Our goal? To train artists who will expand classical music’s influence and impact, now and in years to come. READ MORE >

A Semester at Sibelius

A young composer learns to appreciate Finland’s cold and calm in a new study abroad program.

Winning the Game of Musical Chairs

Recent grads across all disciplines are being hired by professional symphonies.

Female Conductors Seize the Baton

Doctoral students make their musical marks at USC — and afterwards.

Those Recital Experiences Pay Off

Keyboard Studies student appears at The Kennedy Center.

Student Premieres Work at Royal Ballet

Undergraduate found her British collaborator online, and worked via Skype.

These Singers Do It All

Singers as producers, directors, music arrangers, set builders, costumers and prop masters.

Student Composer is Musical America’s New Artist of the Month

Doctoral candidate Julia Adolphe said gender diversity was one of the reasons she chose USC.

Two Seniors Earn Fulbrights

Two recent alumni will spend the 2018-19 academic year abroad as Fulbright Scholars.

From Classmates to Professional Colleagues

Violinists Michelle Tseng and Tianyun Jia won jobs in the LA Phil, while Peter Myers is the new assistant principal cello of the San Francisco Opera.

“If you monitor the New York arts press, you will quickly understand that Los Angeles is hot. The coast-to-coast current has changed course: young painters, writers and musicians are flocking here.”
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times music critic
 
 
 
ALWAYS INNOVATING, ALWAYS COLLABORATING • From Popular Music to Screen Scoring to Jazz Studies, the programs in the Division of Contemporary Music are among the industry’s best and most celebrated. They have always been musical pathfinders, and are also known for their embrace of new technology and creative collaborations with new media, dance, theater and musicians located around the world. READ MORE >

A New Space for a Song

USC Thornton unveils new Songwriter’s Theater.

Music Industry Students Brimming with Creativity

Undergrad student creates “the WordPress of event planning.”

Pop Music Forum Brings Pros to Talk About Work (and Play)

Top singers, instrumentalists, producers, songwriters and other industry stars regularly speak to students at the Pop Music Forum.

Leading Music Industry Alumni

You can find music industry alums, such as Julia Betley, in leadership positions across entertainment fields.

Two Years Out, Two Nominations

When Duncan Thum got the call, his jaw went slack – an Emmy nomination less than two years out of school.

Jazz in Amsterdam

As part of Thornton’s international programs, 10 Jazz Studies students traveled to Amsterdam to meet, study and perform with Dutch students.

“There are so many sides to being a composer in the film industry. The business. The creative. USC does a wonderful job of giving you the whole package.”
Duncan Thum, Emmy-nominated film composer and Screen Scoring alumnus
 
 
 
A FRESH LOOK AT MUSIC EDUCATION • Music education programs haven’t changed very much in 150 years. USC Thornton is changing that with a new master’s degree for students who want to earn teaching certification in California and other states, where traditional band, orchestra and choir are being joined by guitar, songwriting and technology classes. Keeping a close eye on our alumni and education trends, we are training multi-talented teachers to meet the realities of today’s school music programs. READ MORE >

Transforming the Landscape of Teacher Education

A new Master’s degree in K-12 Contemporary Teaching Practice debuted in 2018.

Success Without a Podium

The Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra is an ensemble without a conductor, but with plenty of gigs.

Stepping in to Bring Music to Students

USC Thornton alumna Catherine Cooper launched a music education program for under-served students in Central California.

Arts Entrepreneurship: Where Art Meets StARTup

Kenneth Foster began USC’s Arts Leadership program to teach students to apply their creative skills to grow from artist to arts entrepreneur.

For a Better Brain, Learn Music

Faculty member Beatriz Ilari has been conducting a study to show that musical training can alter brain structures for the better.

Why Should Musicians Mentor?

The USC Thornton Community Engagement Program pairs local public schools with USC students who mentor and teach.

“It’s really important for us as students to get involved in our community, particularly with programs that go into schools and develop lasting relationships with the kids.”
Rose Campion, USC’s 2018 valedictorian, double majoring in music and history