Our composition students work in an environment dedicated to musical excellence, broad
academic inquiry and strong professional skills.
Undergraduate composition studies begin with an introductory composition class that
centers on the performance of specific writing projects and the development of individual
work. Upper-level undergraduate and graduate studies focus on one-to-one private instruction.
Weekly composition seminars include analysis and discussion between students and guest composers, performers
and conductors; open rehearsals; and visits by artists from other disciplines. Students
profit from frequent visits by noted guest composers. Recent guests have included
Michael Abels, Martin Bresnick, Courtney Bryan, Du Yun, Kyle Gann, Michael Torke, and Zhou Long, among others.
Composers in all three degree programs work in an environment dedicated to compositional
and musical excellence, broad academic inquiry and the building of strong professional
skills. Students also benefit from the rich musical resources at USC, including two
advanced computer music studios and our extensive music library collection. Students
are encouraged to take advantage of the diverse resources throughout USC and to collaborate
with artists in other fields.
The Southern Exposure New Music Series, founded by John Fitz Rogers in 2001 and now under the direction of Michael Harley,
regularly performs a wide variety of new music. Alarm Will Sound, the Kronos and JACK string quartets, International Contemporary
Ensemble, Imani Winds, So Percussion, and acclaimed pipa virtuoso Wu Man have all
participated in what has become one of the hallmarks of our program. In addition,
composition students frequently have the opportunity to have their original works
read and professionally recorded by visiting ensembles.
Under the direction of Reginald Bain, the USC Computer Music Concert is a showcase for USC students and faculty. Produced by the Experimental Music Studio (xMUSE), it features the creative products of active undergraduate research programs in digital
synthesis, real-time interactive composition/performance and musical sonification.
At the end of each term, student composers present their work at the New Voices concert,
open to the public. This student-produced concert series is designed to stimulate
compositional activity and educate composers in practical matters of concert production,
publicity, and artistic collaboration.