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School of Music


Student conducting USC Symphony Orchestra

Conducting

USC offers the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting, both choral and instrumental. Conducting students enhance skills and achieve a great command of orchestral forces, choral ensembles, and the entire range of our band program.

The program prepares students to master the art of leading choirs, orchestras, bands and other ensembles in performance.  Our world-class faculty are led by Maestros Donald Portnoy, Larry Wyatt and Scott Weiss.

Instruction in score analysis and arranging, rehearsal and performance leadership, music coaching, arrangement and performance planning, ensemble operations management, and applications to specific school or professional ensembles will ensure a well-rounded mastery of the art of conducting.

Conductors Institute of South Carolina

The world-renowned Conductors Institute of South Carolina has been on the must-do list for young aspiring and experienced conductors alike. Students of the summer institute receive a no-nonsense tutorial from conductors and composers with vast experience in the commercial, academic and professional worlds of music.

Conducting Faculty

Andrew Gowan

Andrew Gowan

Andrew Gowan joined USC’s faculty 30 years ago and has worked with marching and concert bands, taught music education and conducting classes and woodwinds. As a professional saxophonist, he has performed with acts such as Ray Charles, the Four Tops and the Temptations.

Rebecca Phillips

Rebecca Phillips

Rebecca Phillips directs athletic bands, including the Carolina Marching Band. She teaches instrumental conducting and directs the summer drum major clinic. A trombonist, she has toured with Johnny Mathis and Barry Manilow.

Donald Portnoy

Donald Portnoy

Donald Portnoy directs orchestral studies, is a professor of violin and is universally recognized as one of America’s dynamic and inspiring conductors. He has been a guest conductor with major orchestras in several large U.S. cities and in a dozen countries. He holds the Ira McKissick chair for fine arts.

Alicia Walker

Alicia Walker

Alicia Walker is associate director of choral studies and directs the University Chorus, the USC Men’s Chorus and the new USC Women's Chorus. She teaches conducting and choral methods and courses in sacred music and music education. She is a frequent guest conductor, writer and lecturer.

Scott Weiss

Scott Weiss

Scott Weiss directs USC bands and is the Sarah Bolick Smith distinguished professor of music. He conducts the USC Wind Ensemble and teaches and administers the graduate wind conducting program. He has commissioned and recorded dozens of works by today's leading composers.

Larry Wyatt

Larry Wyatt

Larry Wyatt directs the Concert Choir and supervises the master's and doctoral programs in choral conducting and the Graduate Vocal Ensemble. He founded the New Orleans Symphony Chorus and has conducted in some of the world’s best known venues, including Carnegie Hall.