We offer a wealth of opportunities for string players at the undergraduate and graduate
levels. Whether your interest is in solo performance, chamber music or full orchestral
experiences, you will find quality programs at USC.
The USC Symphony Orchestra ranks with the finest university orchestras in the nation, and the USC Chamber Orchestra
was featured in New York's Lincoln Center as a part of the Mozart Bicentennial Festival.
Experienced artists and teachers who have performed throughout the world provide instruction
on all stringed instruments. The university also offers a wide range of performance
opportunities and a variety of venues from lecture halls to world-class music halls.
USC’s String Project is a model of community service and teacher education for more than 30 other university
programs across the country. Carolina students provide accessible string education
and support school music programs while receiving valuable teaching experience. Qualified
music education students may seek a performance certificate in addition to their bachelor
of music education degree.
The American String Teachers Association’s South Carolina Cello Choir and Workshop
rotates among the universities in South Carolina, including USC. Professionals, amateurs,
teachers and students from around the region take part in this program, learning from
renowned clinicians and music faculty.
The USC School of Music has an exceptionally large and active student chapter of American
String Teachers Association, which has an enrollment of 20-25 string education and
performance majors at undergraduate and graduate levels. Elected officers and a faculty
adviser guide the chapter through various professional, service and outreach activities.
These include fundraisers and benefit concerts that provide members with important
leadership experience. Many of our student chapter members and string faculty are
presenters, performers and panel members at the association’s national conference
each year, and USC won the association’s Outstanding Student Chapter Award in 2008.
Gail V. Barnes
Gail Barnes is professor of music education and director of the USC String Project.
She teaches stringed instrument methods and orchestra literature. Her research focuses
on community and school orchestra programs and access to music education for under-served
Christopher Berg is professor of music, directs the classical guitar program and was
named a Carolina Distinguished Professor in 2008. In 2003, his former students created
the Christopher Berg Endowment Fund, which annually presents an award to an outstanding
undergraduate guitar student.
Craig Butterfield is associate professor of double bass and jazz studies and directs
one of the largest double bass programs in the Southeast. Butterfield has performed
extensively as a jazz artist as well as a classical soloist and clinician. He has
toured with jazz trumpet player Maynard Ferguson.
Neil Casey is the assistant director of orchestras and teaches conducting, violin
and chamber music. He also is conductor of the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra
in Savannah, Ga. Casey conducts Opera at USC and the USC Campus Orchestra, an ensemble
Constance Whitman Gee
Constance Whitman Gee is a viola professor, coordinates string chamber music and directs
the Community Music School and Suzuki Strings program. She has performed across the
U.S. and Europe, including as principal violist with orchestras in Spain.
Rebecca Hunter teaches graduate violin pedagogy courses, applied violin lessons, chamber
music, Suzuki violin private and group lessons and is the director of the Suzuki Strings
at USC program. She is working to create a Master of Music degree in violin pedagogy.
Robert Jesselson is cello professor, a Carolina Distinguished Professor and 2012 Professor
of the Year by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and the Office of
the Governor. He has performed around the world and is executive director of the National
String Project Consortium.
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.
William Terwilliger is a violin professor and has conducted master classes throughout
the world. He has performed with orchestras on five continents and is concertmaster
of the Long Bay Symphony in South Carolina. He and pianist Andrew Cooperstock perform
as Opus Two.