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School of Music


Scott Weiss and Donald Portnoy

A message from Dean Harding

Dear USC School of Music Students, Alumni, and Friends:

As many of you know, this year Dr. Donald Portnoy wraps up what can only be called a legendary and transformative career as Director of the USC Symphony. Don has revolutionized the USC Symphony, turning it into one of the most enviable ensembles of its kind at any university anywhere, while at the same time building an audience for classic symphonic music that helps to sustain the group – a successful venture for hundreds of students over decades by any measure.

While his last season begins Tuesday, 13 September and will be entirely unforgettable, there are several dates in that calendar I wish to note. Thursday, January 19, 2017 will be a Koger Center concert of the symphony to honor Don, with any number of special musical surprises. I urge all lovers of Don and the symphony to attend this event. And then, Don’s final concert as Music Director of the Orchestra will be Tuesday, April 18 with popular long-time guest violinist Vadim Gluzman performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto along with Dvorak 8 and the Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin. Memorable indeed.

It is with great pleasure that I also announce that our own Dr. Scott Weiss has accepted the appointment as Interim Director of the USC Symphony for 2017-18. Scott is, as many of us know, our renowned Director of Bands and will continue to perform that duty and its tasks during the interim year. But he is also a brilliant orchestral conductor as indicated by the demand for him all over China and in Mongolia and Taiwan.

The combination of his excellence as an educator, his quality as a conductor, the level of confidence the USC wind and percussion faculty have in him as a musical leader of their applied students and the support he enjoys from other stakeholder faculty as well, the respect he commands from our alumni and music teacher colleagues throughout SC and the nation, and his knowledge of our School of Music culture and unique orchestral circumstances as well as his skill at managing complex musical organizations like USC Bands makes his appointment fitting. Of all of the great suggestions I have heard from faculty and others, I can think of no one else as qualified to undertake this unique and critical role as Scott.

Please join me in congratulating Scott and Don, as we enjoy 2016-17 and look forward to 2017-18 with our dear USC Symphony.

Forever to thee...
Tayloe Harding, Dean