USC Thornton School of Music Newsletter, Fall 2003

Page 1




practicing outside seems to permeate my office day and night. During the summer, it is the resounding cacophony of jackhammers transforming our environment in anticipation of fall classes. At the core of being dean of such a vibrant school is the

from the dean

joy of looking back and looking forward. What a year we have had! With 1,187 music majors registered last fall, we have become the second largest school of music in the country, as well as the largest private music school nationwide, and we continue to be the largest producer of live music performances in the


Los Angeles area.



During the school year, the sound of students

Let me share a few exceptional performances our

the creation of two faculty chairs endowed by

students experienced last year. In September, we

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

partnered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to produce a one-of-a-kind symposium entitled

The fall opera production’s futuristic setting of

“Synergy.” Conceived by Esa-Pekka Salonen, this

Mozart’s The Magic Flute received an enthusiastic

week-long event created a synergistic orchestra

response from the audience, and the spring opera

comprised of members of the LA Philharmonic

was guest conducted by Jorge Mester. This year,

sharing stands with members of our own Thornton

Classical Singer magazine carried a feature article

Symphony. This hybrid orchestra performed four

on Thornton, naming our vocal arts department

new compositions written by four promising young

one of the top ten programs of this kind in the

composers (one of whom was our own doctoral

country. It stated that “Thornton’s teachers have

student Naomi Sekiya), under the direction of four

solid reputations—as both singers and teachers—and

dynamic young conductors, all under the watchful

they seem to truly care about the well being of

eye of Maestro Salonen. This was a phenomenal

their young protégés.”

success on all levels. The Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed reserved his highest praise for the

Reflecting the diversity of our musical programs,

synergistic orchestra: “Had I closed my eyes, I never

a number of renowned musicians joined with our

would have known it wasn’t fully professional.”

students in master classes, performances and guest lectures, among them John Adams, Michael

Two weeks later, music legend Quincy Jones

Daugherty, Sir Peter Hall, The Juilliard String

conducted the Thornton Jazz Orchestra at the

Quartet, Pat Metheny, Midori, Marni Nixon, Pepe

dedication of the Frank Sinatra Hall on campus,

Romero and Peter Schickele. Brilliant cellist and

and consummate composer John Williams con-

former faculty member Lynn Harrell performed

ducted the Thornton Symphony to celebrate

with the Thornton Symphony in the President’s

Distinguished Artist concert

Frank Gehry (BARCH ‘54).

All-Steinway School

handle contracts and finances,

series. This summer, we hosted

This concert, under the direction of Maestro Sergiu

With the help of alumni and friends—and supported by

how to be professional both

student workshops in film scoring and guitar, as well as the

Comissiona, will feature faculty

an initial $250,000 matching

to market and promote one’s

Gregor Piatigorsky Seminar

artist Ronald Leonard, distin-

grant—we are launching a

talents. I am pleased that alum-

for Cellists, commemorating

guished alumna and New York

campaign to place a Steinway

nus and former staff member

Piatigorsky’s centennial; our

Philharmonic concertmaster

piano in every student practice

Chris Sampson (BM ‘91, MM

Chamber Choir competed

Sheryl Staples, and, of course,

room, faculty studio and per-

‘96) is returning to oversee this

internationally in France; the

our fabulous orchestra.

formance venue. Our goal

new program.

Jazz Orchestra was featured

on and off the stage, and how

is to create a teaching and performance environment

I welcome your comments,

Jazz Festival; and a student

Looking at our facilities —it’s time for action

that is equal to the stature

applaud your achievements

string quartet was in residence

This summer, the jackhammers

of our students, faculty and

and invite you to visit. It is

at a music festival in France.

are creating the Jeanette Mac-

guest artists.

an exciting time for the school,

at the Hawaii International

indeed. It is an exciting time

Donald Recital Hall on the first

What a year we have ahead of us!

floor of the Music Faculty Building. In addition to being

Giving our students the edge

In March, Yo-Yo Ma will

home to all choral rehearsals,

This fall, career development

perform with the Thornton

this beautiful 100-seat hall

issues will be integrated into

Symphony in the President’s

will feature voice, choral and

our curriculum. Times have

Distinguished Artist concert

chamber music recitals. This

changed for musicians. Today,

series. In April, the Thornton

is the first in a series of up-

even the best performers must

Symphony will perform in

grades to our academic and

understand that although a

the opening season of the

performance environment—stay

successful career starts with

Walt Disney Concert Hall,

tuned for more news on renova-

being an outstanding musician,

new home of the Los Angeles

tion and construction projects.

it is sustained by knowing



how to avoid injuries, how to Photo: Steven Heller

Philharmonic, designed by

to be dean.

“What a year we have had!”

Robert A.Cutietta


Brian Head

Photo: Andrew Taylor


So last week, sometime between takes of Going to California and The Battle of Evermore, it hit me—I’m sitting in with a Baroque consort, playing Led Zeppelin on my lute. The recorders are jamming, the viol player is sliding and turning his way through Robert Plant’s vocal lines, and I smile, realizing that I’m Jimmy Page for a day. In preparation, I even had our local luthier guru, Greg Brandt, perform surgery on my instrument to add two higher frets to give it that sopranino lute, Zeppelin authenticity. Authenticity? What could that possibly mean? (In a twist of performance practice, we were playing at A-415H Z, traditional Baroque pitch, and as it turns out, The Battle of Evermore actually hovered around that pitch on my old, scratched LP. But that wasn’t why the group was at 415. They chose this tuning in a quest for a perfect rapprochement between the players’ and instrument’s comfort and the essence of Zeppelin).

Brian Head, faculty member in the classical guitar and composition programs

Such is the life of the modern performer. I am hopelessly, wonderfully propelled into a post-modern reality. This is my reality, as listener, composer and performer. And I like it. I was reminded today upon hearing the news of Roslyn Tureck’s passing that the famous pianist and founder of the International Bach Society made her Carnegie Hall debut in the 1940s playing a Bach Concerto on a Theremin, an electronic instrument popularized in the 1960s in the Beach Boys hit Good Vibrations. This was not an aberration for Tureck, but rather the application of her belief that music has an intrinsic reality apart from the instruments and performance practices of its birth, not in opposition to these components, but in addition to them. Tureck was an inspiration to Glenn Gould as he blazed his own trail of idiosyncratic performance and arrangement, of Bach in particular. And, like Tureck, he felt emancipated to explore and experiment on the edges of timbre, tempo, and choice of instrument to extract the vitality of the music itself and to express his own identity. Gould even dreamed in the 1970s of a “consumer Pro-Tools” future in which listeners could edit and manipulate different takes of his performances to create their own favorite mixes and versions—to transform the listeners into performers. Is anything sacred?

Similar questions of the meaning and validity of

strongly influenced by the guitar in its myriad

October, my entire performance will be arrange-

authenticity in the guitar repertoire rage today,

popular guises over the past 50 years.

ments by one definition or another. Though I’m

particularly as we discover more and more worth-

not programming any of my own compositions this

while music in a variety of places and periods. The

But I find it inescapably true that most of this new

time, I am indulging my compositional juices in

guitarists’ posture has sometimes previously been

music has its inspiration in re-invention, frequently

three very different arrangement projects. The first

to arrange music to fill the absence of our own rich

in direct methods such as in the folk song arrange-

is in the continuation of my series of arrangements

repertory. The influx of newly found music coupled

ments of George Rochberg, Robert Beaser or Witold

of Vivaldi’s six cello sonatas, this time the Fourth

with an ever-increasing awareness of the details

Lutoslawski and the variation sets by Ian Krouse,

Sonata in B-Flat Major with my wife, Paula

of performance practice have now made us much

Dusan Bogdanovic or Benjamin Britten; but also

Fehrenbach as cello soloist. The very system of

more sensitive to its nuance and beauty, from the

commonly by making use of the timbral and cultural

continuo realization is a license, or even a demand,

Baroque guitar dances of Sanz and his contem-

connotations of the guitar such as in the recent con-

issued by the Baroque composer for creative

poraries, to the 19th century character pieces of

certos by Christopher Rouse, Tan Dun and John

arrangement, and I find myself engaging in more

Legnani and Regondi, to the vast 7-string Russian

Corigliano. The more definitively, traditionally

liberal readings—trading melodic phrases with the

guitar repertoire, to the astonishing body of music

modern approaches of composers such as Elliott

soloist, diverging from the given bass and creating

for the 17th and 18th century guitar-like instrument

Carter and Brian Ferneyhough are much more

new rhythmic textures. I am treating these as

called the mandora, recently championed by our

difficult to find today, and frankly can easily be

re-compositions and improvisations rather than

own James Tyler.

shown to have their own post-modern strands if


one looks hard enough. Brilliant as they are, they From the perspective of the performer, we en-

do not represent the dialectic anymore, and the

Similarly, I’ve been fascinated lately by the Telemann

counter this watershed of possibilities in the face

processes and philosophies of reinvention, variation

keyboard fantasias and have arranged three more

of a decided increase in the amount of great music

and arrangement are particularly critical and

for this concert. These works are rarely played on

being written for our instrument today, notably by

unavoidable for guitarists and all musicians today.

the concert stage by pianists or harpsichordists,

the vanguard of composers who are not themselves

perhaps because of their relatively sparse poly-

guitarists, but also by a generation of top echelon

I realize that it is in this context that I now approach

phony, but precisely this lack of density makes them

composers who do play the instrument. In fact, it

the construction of my own solo concerts, such as

ideal for the guitar. Many are cast in a fast-slow-fast

is difficult to find composers today who haven’t at

my upcoming faculty recital. I find myself increas-

design with absolutely gorgeous middle sections and

least dabbled in the guitar and who haven’t been

ingly drawn to combinations of old and new. This

kinetic outer ones. They become guitar works,




relatively unhindered by expectations developed by

example of Britten’s compositional style and tech-

the memory of keyboard renditions. In both the

nique—a theme with variations in which the subject

Vivaldi and the Telemann, I hope to transcend the

of the piece, Dowland’s lute song, Come Heavy Sleep,

sense that these are ancient works, but rather that

is found in Britten’s arrangement, at the end of the

they are new creations to be appreciated as absolute

work. This haunting song is a goal and a postlude to

music with reference to both old and new.

the series of connected movements which transport the listener on a journey through dream states, both

Brian Head, guitar,

with Paula Fehrenbach, cello,

and John Wakefield, percussion


This goal is even more transparent in my third

violent and gentle. Britten finds in Dowland’s style

arranging project, sort of a double re-invention of

many harmonic, rhythmic and contrapuntal ten-

folk-songs and lullabies first arranged, in a process

dencies that, in turn, find natural extension and

reminiscent of Bartok ´ in his Mikrokosmos, by Dusan

expression in his own. The resulting integration

Bogdanovic for solo guitar. Only, I’ll be using a

of these two composers goes far beyond simple

Roland GR-33 guitar synthesizer... The MIDI guitar

variation and becomes a collaboration of equals

affords a huge dynamic range, endless sustain and

across centuries.

an infinite array of tonal possibilities which still are controlled by the idiomatic nature of the guitar—the

In Bogdanovic’s piece, his theme is the one compo-

use of channel-separated strings to identify lines of

sitional masterpiece of Andrés Segovia, the most

counterpoint; the availability of sliding, bending and

influential classical guitar performer and arranger

vibrato; and varieties of attacks with the right hand.

of the 20th century. Not primarily a composer, Segovia wrote the short piece during a time of great

Sunday, October 5, 2003, 3 PM


These choices subvert and recast the balance and

uncertainty about his health and future. Bogdanovic

nuance so carefully put in place by the composer.

begins his work with an arrangement of Segovia’s

And herein lies the critical danger of any arrange-

theme, in my view as an interpretation of the

ment: What if I make it worse? I can only answer

fragility of human existence and more overtly of

that the same danger lies in every performance,

the classical guitar, Segovia’s own identity. The

however faithful to the original. Neither a composer-

musical components of the theme are deeply

supervised first performance or a meticulously pre-

integrated into his subsequent variations, but the

pared authentic re-enactment of an ancient work

subtext is the psychologically complex relationship

can claim automatic right to the primacy of the

the modern guitarist has with Segovia. Segovia’s

result. We as performers and listeners relish live

proud and delicate world had become transformed

performance for the very reason that something

often in directions he did not like or understand.

unique will happen, guaranteed. I believe that

Still, the respect for his achievement remains the

the muddied waters of our post-modern culture

cornerstone of Bogdanovic’s work. In much the

encourages us to appreciate art more directly,

same way, we performers in the post-modern cul-

individually, without the need of the intervening

ture are opposing and embracing with every new

priest of high culture to interpret for us. I believe

step we take.

that most composers also find a wealth of their inspiration in a similar process of creation born A new arrangement of Vivaldi’s Fourth Cello

Sonata, three newly arranged keyboard

fantasias by Telemann, two seminal 20th

century variation works—Britten’s Nocturnal

and Bogdanovic’s Estudio sin luz Variations,

and a 21st century set for MIDI guitar and


of the clashing of incongruities. I will be exploring this spirit of arrangement in the two centerpiece works of my concert, the Nocturnal by Benjamin Britten and Variations on Estudio sin luz by Dusan Bogdanovic. In both, I will be playing authentically, in the sense that both were written for solo classical guitar, but because constructionally they are both variation sets, I will be interpreting the composers’ own arrangements and re-inventions of two older pieces. Many people contend that Britten’s Nocturnal is the greatest solo guitar work of the 20th century. Written in 1963, it is a rich


Michael Kudirka p.7


If you are a musician who doesn’t write your own music, there are three ways to get a piece of music added to your repertoire: buy it, steal it, or help conceive it. The first one accounts for the majority of music heard in Jeffrey Holmes’

concert halls—you order a score from a music publisher. Though fast and

Five Micro-Tonal Studies

convenient, purchased works are often mediated by decades, if not cen-

is a “captivating... [piece in which] the haunting and slightly disorienting sound disrupts and engages the open ear.” —Los Angeles Times

turies, of tradition which coagulate into musical preconceptions that limit individualistic exploration of the score itself. Performers of early music are notable exceptions to this phenomenon, creatively re-evaluating older works with fresh academic insight. Glenn Gould, the classical musician’s icon of anti-conservatism, also maintained a fearless, exploratory approach, often described as “re-composition,” yielding penetrating interpretations utterly divorced from the classical mainstream.



Jeffrey Holmes, born in 1971 in Los Angeles,

received his BM degree from the San

Francisco Conservatory where he studied

composition, performance and improvisa-

tion with Dusan Bogdanovic. After private

composition studies with Ian Krouse, he

entered the USC Thornton School of Music,

The second way to get a piece of music is theft, also

clearly audible beat patterns caused by ‘out of tune’

known as transcription. This practice is most common

vibrating strings. Though only 9 minutes in length, it

among musicians whose instrument, for a variety of

took us longer to learn the Five Micro-Tonal Studies

historical reasons, has had substantially less music

than any other piece in our repertoire. The score was

written for it. Of course, although fine arrangements

the most detailed we had ever encountered. Almost

abound, recital programs loaded with such repertoire

every note appears like a planetary body around

are undeniably an admission of poverty and disregard

which orbit as many as six satellites containing infor-

the importance of timbre in the compositional

mation about specifics of execution, not to mention

process. The issues with historical mediation apply

numerous accents and sforzandi which pepper the

to transcription as well, perhaps even more so, as

score. Such detail makes for a piece that sparkles with

the performer is likely to assiduously seek a ‘correct’

timbral subtlety. Because of its musical density, how-

(therefore clichéd) interpretation in an effort to claim

ever, we were forced to premiere each movement as

some legitimacy for the arrangement. Transcription’s

we learned it, adding each one successively. Once the

redeeming strength is that if the arrangements are

work had been given time to mature, it became per-

significantly related to other works on the program, a

haps the strongest part of our program and is always

performer can make musical connections that would

a powerful experience for audiences.

perhaps be impossible otherwise. The most recent work written for The Duo is 13 Ways The third way to get a piece of music is to help bring

of Looking at 12 Strings by Portland-based composer

it into existence. This is a process that involves the

Bryan Johanson. If Jeffrey’s piece was the densest

close interaction between an active composer, a

score we’ve had to learn, Bryan’s was undoubtedly the

performer and often the patron who commissions the

most expansive. This piece has a vast scope bringing

work. Playing commissioned works is both rewarding

in diverse styles including rock, jazz, free atonality,

and challenging: new works often require the per-

surf guitar, rigorous fugue and 12-bar blues, all in a

formers to do things they’ve never done before,

kind of post-modern symphonic form. More of a

thereby stimulating musical growth. The main difficul-

tome than a score, it numbers over 80 pages divided

where he studied with Donald Crockett and

Frederick Lesemann earning MM degree

with special distinction for achievement in

composition. Jeffrey Holmes’ music has been

performed in both Europe and the United

States—at festivals in Prague (Czech

Republic), at “Microfest–2003” in Venice

ty with a commissioned work is that you never know

into 13 movements, with a duration of 55 minutes. It

what you’re going to get until the score is completed,

includes several pages of instructions showing how

a fact which makes effective programming proble-

to prepare the various acoustical effects: a mute for

matic at best.

pizzicato sounds, a glass bottleneck slide for multistring glissandi, as well as a straightened metal paper

(California), and at the Composer’s Forum

of the East in Bennington (Vermont). He

has taught music theory and ear-training

courses at USC and Cal State Los Angeles.

Jeffrey Holmes is presently pursuing his

Doctor of Musical Arts degree at USC, and

studies composition with Stephen Hartke.

The situation gets complicated when you’re a mem-

clip to be woven through the strings for a Caribbean

ber of The Duo, a guitar duet of Eric Benzant-Feldra

steel pan effect. Embedded within the work are two

and myself, because the volume of existing music for

solo guitar movements. The instructions ask each

this somewhat unconventional ensemble is frightfully

guitarist to learn both of them and to find some ran-

small as compared to that of more traditional cham-

dom way of deciding who will play which one in the

ber ensembles. In addition, we keep the number of

performance itself. We’ve been opting for a coin toss

transcriptions we perform very low because of the

right before the first solo, an event that always gets

aforementioned issues with that approach. Conse-

some laughs from the audience. This work stimulated

quently, our programs lean more toward new works

substantial musical growth for The Duo—we were

out of simple necessity. Yet, it has become the

asked to do things that we’ve never done before:

preferred way to add to our repertoire; it is the most

improvisation, extensive percussion on the guitar

effective way for us to remain vibrant and creatively

body and maintaining a high energy level throughout

active as performers.

this substantial work which has only 2 slow move-

The first piece written for The Duo was the set of Five

is extremely guitaristic and although quite challenging,

Micro-Tonal Studies by Jeffrey Holmes. Only a couple

it remains truly idiomatic and is a joy to perform.

ments out of its 13 total. Fortunately for us, the piece

weeks after we asked Jeffrey if he would write something for us, he had already developed some ideas concerning the unusual tuning method that he would eventually employ: one guitar tunes itself about one third of a semitone flat, creating a 36-note octave with

Perhaps the most difficult thing about performing commissioned works is that we never know how the piece will fit in our program. With existing repertoire, it’s relatively easy to structure programs that have the emotional balance and direction that the performers are looking for. How are the performers of contemporary music to make effective programming choices when much of what they receive from composers is new and unexpected? There’s no simple answer to that question. At the present moment, it seems important to keep discovering new possibilities of what our ensemble of two guitars can do and in the process help stimulate composers to contribute substantial work to the genre. It is more important now than ever for musicians to be involved in contemporary music, partly for their own nourishment, but even more so to ensure that music performance doesn’t become strictly the work of museum curators.



USC The Duo is performing the Holmes and Johanson pieces,

Saturday October 18th at 8 PM

among others, this fall as part of the Loyola Marymont


University Guitar Concert Series. Tickets available by phone and on the web: 310.338.7588


Eric Benzant-Feldra, born New York 1977, and Michael Kudirka, born Chicago 1978, first crossed paths as undergraduates at the USC Thornton School of Music. At the behest of their teacher, William Kanengiser, Eric and Michael began performing as a duo in 1998. Their first project, selections from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Pieces de Clavecin, was enthusiastically received and encouraged The Duo to expand their ensemble beyond the confines of the university. Since graduating, they have gravitated towards contemporary music. Ranging from Joaquin Rodrigo’s early “musical cubism” to Dusan Bogdanovic’s current use of “developing bi-modality,” The Duo demonstrates that they are one of the most cutting-edge guitar ensembles today. They frequently collaborate with active composers such as Jeffrey Holmes, Dusan Bogdanovic, Bryan Johanson, Veronika Krausas, James Tenney and Naomi Sekiya, and have had many new works dedicated to them.

As soloists, Eric and Michael have taken the top prizes of several prestigious guitar competitions including the American String Teacher’s Association and the Pasadena Fine Arts Club. In 2000, they took first and second place at the Portland Guitar Competition. This resulted in an invitation to perform at the festival the following year. In his review of The Duo’s recital, James McQuillen, music critic of The Oregonian, said, “The two make excellent duo partners, tight and responsive, and their overview of several centuries of lute and guitar pieces was a thrill.” In the spring of 2003, Eric and Michael won first prize at the USC Thornton Guitar Department Concerto Competition resulting in a performance of Bryan Johanson’s Banana Dance for two guitars and orchestra.

They make frequent appearances on the West Coast and have given recitals at the Photo: Eli Marias

American Radio Museum in Bellingham, the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Lincoln Hall

Eric Benzant-Feldra and Michael Kudirka, Advanced Studies candidates in classical guitar

in Portland, the Palace of Fine Arts Theater in San Francisco, McKinney Auditorium in Pasadena and the Electric Lodge in Venice (California), among others. They have also given performances in Chicago (Illinois) and Osaka (Japan). In addition to performing with The Duo, Michael Kudirka teaches classical guitar at the Idyllwild Arts Academy.











Dr. William Rutherford,

Sieker, a square piano

With the support of

and Rod and Cheri Jones

Students returning to cam-

finishes, wood paneling

emeritus professor of lin-

made by Pierre Garnier

Provost Lloyd Armstrong,

hosted a private dinner

pus this fall have found

and wainscoting, a new

guistics at USC, and an

and tuned cup bells made

Dean Cutietta has an-

party at the Long Beach

“room 106” transformed

wood-covered stage, a

early music aficionado and

by London’s Whitechapel

nounced that the

Yacht Club featuring per-

into the Jeanette Mac-

new entrance from the

instrumentalist, has named

Bell Foundry. Professor

Thornton School will

formances by Steinway

Donald Recital Hall, a

exterior courtyard, addi-

the Thornton School of

James Tyler, director of

become an All-Steinway

artist and faculty member

prime recital, master class

tional space for perform-

Music beneficiary of his

Thornton’s Early Music

School, joining such peer

Norman Krieger and his

and guest artist presenting

ers, stage management

extensive music library

program, expresses his

institutions as The Juilliard

student Gideon Rubin.

space. Dedicated to the

and piano storage;

and superb early music

gratitude, “Dr. Rutherford’s

School, Yale School of

memory of singer/actress

improved sound isolation

instrument collection.

devotion to the advance-

Music and the Curtis

Jeanette MacDonald, the

and clarity; and new house

Included in the gift is also

ment of early music study

Institute of Music. To date,

new venue is the first step

and stage lighting with

his magnificent three-story

and performance is em-

the Thornton School has

of Dean Cutietta’s commit-

dimming systems. Further

home along with the cus-

bodied in this unique and

received an initial $250,000

ment to create a more pro-

enhancements will include

tom furnishings. Through

important gift. His kind-

matching grant.

fessional rehearsal and

installed recording and

his Trust, Dr. Rutherford

ness, generosity and

performance environment

playback systems, as

has donated his personal

superb taste in historically-

The goal of this $3.5 mil-

for Thornton students,

well as new microphones,

residence for the purpose

informed keyboard in-

lion initiative is to place

faculty, guest artists and

speaker and camera

of attracting and housing

struments will be deeply

a Steinway piano in every



faculty members, prefer-

appreciated by our

student practice room,

ably associated with the

students and faculty now

faculty studio and per-

In addition to showcasing

Dean Cutietta states, “Our

school’s Early Music pro-

and forever.”

formance venue, creating

master classes and student

students are worthy of a

a teaching and perform-

recitals, the space will

professional presentation

gram. His home is to serve as a venue for Thornton

We are honored by

ance environment equal

continue to serve as

environment as the recital

concerts and recitals fea-

Dr. Rutherford’s generous

to the stature of our

the Charles Hirt Choral

component of their educa-

turing faculty and students

support of the Thornton

students, faculty and

Laboratory, providing

tion is the final rite of pas-

for the enjoyment of

School and look forward

guest artists. The All-

the choral and sacred

sage to the professional

Thornton guests, local

to celebrating his gift this

Steinway School Leader-

music department with a

world. We are indebted to

early music enthusiasts and

fall with the Early Music

ship Committee includes

premium classroom and

Ben Newman and Robert

the students and families

Ensemble concert on

Rod and Cheri Jones,

rehearsal space for the

Thom, on behalf of the

of his neighborhood ele-

November 21st in the

Bruce and Jean Juell, Rick

Thornton Chamber Choir,

Gene Raymond Trust, and

mentary school.

Alfred Newman Recital

and Nancy Muth and

Concert Choir, Oriana

are pleased that future

Hall at USC.

Chuck and Anne Taylor.

Choir, University Chorus

recitals and special events

and conducting classes.

will memorialize the musi-

Dr. Rutherford’s lifelong love of music and commit-

In celebration of this new

ment to early music

venture, Steinway & Sons

Care has been taken to

performance has led him

hosted a private party in

honor the venue’s excel-

to purchase and commis-

January at the Ritz

lent acoustics, while

The Jeanette MacDonald

sion such handcrafted

Carlton/Laguna Niguel for

refining and improving the

Recital Hall will be dedicat-

instruments as a Baroque

the Dean and his advisory

aesthetic, functional and

ed on October 4th with a

organ made by Greg

committee. In June, the

performance aspects of

private recital showcasing

Harrold, harpsichords

Dean entertained guests

the space. Architectural,

Thornton students, includ-

made by William Dowd

at Steinway & Sons’ 150th

acoustic and performance

ing the Jeanette Mac-

and Curtis Berak, an

anniversary celebration

system enhancements

Donald Operetta Scholars.

organetto, made by Uwe

concert at Carnegie Hall,

include new interior

cal legacy of Jeanette MacDonald.”

September 18-23, 2003 NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC

Stephen Hartke's new Symphony No. 3, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, will have its premiere at Avery Fischer Hall, with the Hilliard Ensemble as soloists, under the direction of Lorin Maazel, on September 18, 19, 20 and 23. The initial concert will also be broadcast.


Hartke’s symphonic piece is scored for the orchestra and the Hilliard Ensemble, one of the world’s foremost male a cappella groups with which

Friday, December 12, 2003

Hartke has previously collaborated. In asking for


this piece, Hartke was invited, if he so chose, to write something that would also help mark the

The Thornton School of Music’s 17th Annual Charles

second anniversary of the September 11 attack.

Dickens Dinner will be held Friday, December 12, 2003, in the Crystal Room of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. This festive, black-tie musical evening will feature enter-

“I decided to do so in a somewhat indirect way,”


say Hartke, “by choosing as my text an Old


English elegy dating from the 8th or 9th century,

tainment by costumed carolers, instrumentalists and special guest artists.



in which the poet describes the ruins of a Roman city, perhaps without fully understanding what it is. The poet contrasts the fallen state and decay of the

We will recognize Joyce and Kent Kresa with Dickens

site with imaginings of how splendid it must have been in its heyday.”

Medal of Honor for advancement of the arts. The evening will culminate with the presentation of the

In conjunction with their appearance with the New York Philharmonic, the

Magnum Opus Award for artistic achievement to a

Hilliard Ensemble will also be giving a concert at Merkin Hall on September 21

distinguished musician. Previous honorees include

of work by Perotin and the New York premieres of Hartke’s Tituli and Cathedral

Herb Alpert, Louis Bellson, Leonard Bernstein, Michael

in the Thrashing Rain. Donald Crockett will conduct and Lynn Vartan (MM ‘00,

Feinstein, Michael Kamen, Quincy Jones, Barry Manilow, Marni Nixon, John and Bonnie Raitt, John Tesh, Diane Warren and Frank Wildhorn.

DMA ‘03) and Javier Diaz (BM ‘01) are featured percussionists. This concert is in part sponsored by ECM New Series to mark the September 2003 release of the Hilliard Ensemble recording of Hartke’s pieces.

The Charles Dickens Dinner is vital to the School’s scholarship program, which annually awards more than

Preferred concert seating and pre-concert reception with Dean Cutietta on

$2.9 million to outstanding young musicians worldwide.

September 18th, sponsored by the USC Alumni Club of New York City. For

Again this year, all scholarship contributions will be

further information and reservations:

matched by a generous grant from John Herklotz for

TROJAN TRAVEL WITH THORNTON DEAN AND FACULTY We invite you to partner with us in ensuring the continued excellence of our music education, performance and outreach programs. Please contact


July 2-12, 2004 with Dr. Robert Cutietta, dean

the Thornton Development Office at 213.740.6474 to learn how your contribution can make a difference.


Dates to be confirmed with Dr. Frank Ticheli, professor of composition Destinations and dates subject to change. For updated information: 213.740.6005 or Trojan Travel via


double the impact.

Judith Weir is one of Britain’s most wide-ranging composers. The diversity of her compositions will be displayed this fall as she serves as composer-in-residence at the Thornton School of Music giving workshops and lectures. Her works will be performed by two diverse ensembles: USC THORNTON CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ENSEMBLE


October 14, 8

October 17, 8





AN EVENING WITH WYNTON MARSALIS Trumpeter, composer, bandleader and champion of music education, Wynton Marsalis brings his septet to USC for an evening of exceptional jazz. The performance will also feature a set by the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, directed by Dr. Ron McCurdy. A President’s Distinguished Artist Series Event, presented by USC Spectrum.

November 5, 2003 at 7



Admission: $40 general; $20 USC faculty and staff; $10 USC students with valid ID For more information: 213.740.2167 or




˘ ´ PROGRAM YO-YO MA AND THE USC THORNTON SYMPHONY IN AN ALL DVORAK ˘ ´ Carnival Overture, Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins the USC Thornton Symphony in a performance of four works by Dvorak: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Waldesruhde (“Silent Woods”), op. 68, and Slavonic Dance NO. 1. A President’s Distinguished Artist Series Event, presented by USC Spectrum.

March 5, 2004 at 7



For more information: 213.740.2167 or

USC THORNTON ENSEMBLES FEATURED IN INAUGURAL SEASON OF THE WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL THORNTON CHORAL ARTISTS Thornton Choral Artists will join the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen in Berlioz’s Tristia.

January 22, 2004 at 8


and January 25 at 2


For tickets: 323.850.2000 THORNTON SYMPHONY Sergiu Comissiona conducts the orchestra in the world premiere of a work by faculty composer Frederick Lesemann, as well ´ Concerto for Orchestra and Brahms’ Double Concerto, featuring faculty artist Ronald Leonard and alumna as Bartok’s Sheryl Staples (AS ‘91).

April 18, 2004 at 7:30


For more information: THORNTON CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ENSEMBLE Led by Donald Crockett, the Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble will present a Pacific Rim program as part of the LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series. On the program are Phan’s AC/DC, Harrison’s The Perilous Chapel, Lim’s The Heart’s Ear, Grenfell’s Ceol na Fidhle and Kim’s Now and Then.

April 26, 2004 at 8


For tickets: 323.850.2000

CELEBRATION OF PEPE ROMERO AND THE CLASSICAL GUITAR PROGRAM OF USC World acclaimed guitar maestro and Thornton faculty member Pepe Romero will be honored in a week-long guitar festival at the Thornton School of Music.

July 2004 For more information: 213.740.7399

A new exhibit, co-curated by James Tyler, director of Thornton’s Early Music program, and Brian Harlan, head of the USC Music Library, will highlight objects including Western and Non-Western musical instruments from Thornton’s Gale Collection, De Lorenzo Collection, Early Music Ensemble Collection, Tyler’s private collection, and rare materials from the Music and the Special Collections Libraries.




Lectures and performances related to the exhibit will take place throughout the spring 2004 semester.




Buddy Baker, who died in 2002, scored and conducted music for Disney for 29 years.

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and The Shaggy D.A. Buddy Baker also wrote the music for The Haunted Mansion (for which he co-wrote the song Grim Grinning Ghosts) and It’s A Small World attractions at Disneyland, as well as attractions at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. In later years, he served as the

This event features the performance of new works composed in Baker’s memory by jazz drummer Louis Bellson and composer Joe Harnell, as well as songwriter Richard Sherman performing his classic Disney tunes. In addition, Baker’s friends and colleagues share songs and memories of Disney’s maestro.

September 2003—May 2004 ALFRED NEWMAN RECITAL HALL GALLERY Along with the performance, this event marks the opening of the Tribute to Buddy Baker exhibit. Original scores of Baker’s famous tunes, rare photos of Baker, as well as images from Disney Co. archives will be on display. Marking a lifetime of achievements, the Tribute to Buddy Baker exhibit showcases the many celebrated moments of his life including Grammy nominations and the opening events of Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center.



director of USC’s Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television Program.


He wrote scores for TV’s Davy Crockett and Mickey Mouse Club and films including


commemorating his historic performance as a prize-



winner in the First International Tchaikovsky Piano

In addition to composing and conducting, Ticheli

Bokun released a new CD entitled Regreso al Sur with


authored a chapter for the book, Composers on Composing for Band, conceived and edited by

the Poznan (Poland) Chamber Orchestra Allegria Di Vita. This CD features the works of Piazzolla,


composer-conductor Mark Camphouse (GIA

Villa Lobos and Galliano. Bokun is featured both as

Potenza’s latest release The Legacy is a quartet project

Publications, 2002).

a clarinetist and conductor.

featuring pianist Larry Fuller, bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Paul Kreibich.


Tyler’s new book The Guitar and Its Music: From



the Renaissance to the Classical Era, released inter-

Fuzzy Music release Badlands offers a program

Newly released self-titled Richard Smith features Jeff

nationally by Oxford University Press in late 2002,

consisting almost exclusively of originals by the

Lorber, Jeff Kashiwa, Brian Culbertson, Freddie

advances the theory that lute and guitar, while both

members—five by pianist Pasqua, and two each by

Ravel, George Duke/Rippingtons keyboardist Dave

members of the “plucked string” family, evolved along

percussionist Erskine and bassist Carpenter.

Kochanski and Snoop Dog drummer D-Loq.

separate, parallel lines.



In Classical Cool: Jazz Currents for Solo Classical

Todd’s recent CD releases, Horn Sonatas of Three

Guitar, Kanengiser, a founding member of the Los

Centuries and With a Twist, showcase the works of


Angeles Guitar Quartet, presents a small sampling of

numerous classical composers.


Chen won the second clarinet position with the

the new wave in Jazz-inspired writing for the nylonstring guitar. Compositions by Andrew York (MM


‘86) and faculty artist Brian Head are among those

York’s third solo recording Into Dark was recently


released by GSP.

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. VIVIANA CUMPLIDO, MM ‘03, AND JEREMY REYNOLDS, DMA ‘03

Cumplido will be principal flute and Reynolds will


Kocyan’s CD of music of Scriabin, Rachmaninoff and


be principal clarinet with the Tucson Symphony

Prokofiev, released recently on the Polish label DUX,



was named one of the 2003 finalists in the prestigious

Nominated as the editor of the Journal of the

Fryderyk Awards in Warsaw, Poland.

American Musicological Society, Dr. Brown is pre-


paring a book (co-edited with Rebecca Harris-

The music history and literature department wel-


Warrick) titled In Search of the Ballerino Grottesco:

comes Dr. Demers to the faculty. Demers recently

Fifteen CDs containing music by Morten Lauridsen

Gennaro Magri and his World (University of

completed her PhD thesis at Princeton University

were released this past year, including recordings by

Wisconsin Press). Dr. Brown wrote a chapter for

and is currently working on a book about the effect

the Robert Shaw and Dale Warland Singers, the New

this publication and, as a co-editor, translated two

of copyright litigation on musical creativity.

York Concert Singers and the San Francisco and

chapters by an Italian collaborator. JAMES LENTINI, DMA ‘90


James Lentini has been named Dean of the School of


Dr. Dehning published a book Chorus Confidential:

Art, Media and Music at The College of New Jersey.

American Composers Forum release Once Again for

Decoding the Secrets of the Choral Art (Pavanne

Lentini came to TCNJ from Wayne State University

the First Time is a mixture of standards and originals,

Publishing, 2002).

where he has worked for the past 15 years as professor of composition.

featuring Patrice Rushen (MM ‘76), piano, Shelly Berg, piano, Jeff Clayton, alto sax, Kenny Davis, bass, and Roy


McCurdy, drums.

The June 2003 issue of Downbeat Magazine named


Storie as the winner of the Outstanding High School

We are pleased to welcome baritone Lightfoot to the


Jazz Instrumentalist on Guitar for his solo work and

vocal arts faculty. Winner of a Sullivan Foundation

Cambria recently released Daniel Pollack, Pianist:

recordings with the Tyme Quartet.

grant, the 1982 Boston Opera Competition and a

1958 and 1961, The Legendary Moscow Recordings,

finalist in the Luciano Pavarotti Competition, he has

performed leading roles with opera companies in both

commissioned by a consortium of twenty-three


the U.S. and Europe. Lightfoot holds degrees from

university ensembles. This work received its European


the Juilliard School, Tufts University and Columbia

premiere in June 2003 in Sweden at the International

Spear scored Dinosaur Secrets Revealed, a two-hour


Conference of the World Association of Symphonic

program on the History Channel.

Bands and Wind Ensembles (WASBE). Ticheli’s new CYNTHIA MUNZER, VOCAL ARTS

choral work commissioned by the Pacific Chorale

Cynthia Munzer created an international vocal insti-

will receive the world premiere this coming year.


tute at the International Summer School UPBEAT


HVAR in Croatia. This institute brings recognized

Legendary vibraphonist and drummer Hampton was

master teachers from around the world to instruct


a composer-conductor-bandleader who carried the

gifted students in violin, viola, cello, double bass,


dynamism of swing from the war years into the

piano, guitar, flute, conducting, chamber music and,

The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet has been nominated

1980’s, discovering new stars along the way. His big

now, voice. Faculty members Alice Schoenfeld, violin,

for this year’s Grammy Award in the Best Classical

band—by 1986 the longest-running orchestra in jazz

and Eleonore Schoenfeld, cello, have been frequent

Crossover Album category for their Telarc recording

history—included such luminaries as Charles Mingus,

master teachers for UPBEAT.

LAGQ: Latin. The group is comprised of four

Art Farmer, Joe Newman, Illinois Jacquet, Dexter

USC graduates, including current faculty members

Gordon, Lee Young, Ernie Royal, Clark Terry, Joe

Scott Tennant and William Kanengiser.

Williams, and Dinah Washington. Hampton died


at age 93.


Scalzo won the second and E-flat clarinet positions


with Michigan’s Grand Rapids Symphony.

In April, the ensemble performed “Baroque Master-


works-Baroque Fireworks” in the 70th Annual Los

Former Thornton faculty member and chair of

Angeles Bach Festival to an enthusiastic audience.

music education, Dorothy Jean Hartshorn passed


away in late 2002. She had been with USC for

Meet the Composer, a national organization serving

42 years before retiring in 1989.

composers throughout the country, has selected


Sekiya for a residency with the Berkeley Symphony

The Hawaii International Jazz Festival featured the

for the 2003-2004 season.

Thornton Jazz Orchestra with Shelly Berg and


Tierney Sutton.

Former vocal arts faculty member and long-time director of the Thornton Opera, Timothy Lindberg




This past March, the Thornton Wind Ensemble

Boyer’s latest work Ellis Island: The Dream of America

performed as the featured ensemble concert at the


for actors and orchestra with projected images was

CBDNA national convention (College Band Directors

Renowned bassoonist and dedicated teacher Stephen

premiered by the Hartford Symphony under Boyer’s

National Association) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Maxym passed away in late 2002. He was principal

passed away this spring after a long illness.

direction, and broadcast on National Public Radio’s

bassoon for the Metropolitan Opera for 36 years and

Symphony Cast.

taught in the finest music schools around the country,



Sekiya’s new orchestral work, Undulation (2002),

Berg co-composed the theme for the last season of

was premiered by the Estonian National Symphony

Dennis Miller Live on HBO. He was also musical

Orchestra with Olari Elts, conducting. Her Concerto

director of J Edgar!, starring Kelsey Grammer, John

for Two Guitars and Orchestra is scheduled to be

Goodman, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest, at

premiered on January 21, 2004, by the Berkeley

the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival.

Symphony Orchestra with Kent Nagano conducting. THOMAS NEWMAN, SMPTV ‘74 FRANK TICHELI, THEORY & COMPOSITION

Newman was awarded two Grammy awards for his

The Florida State University Wind Ensemble gave

theme for the TV series Six Feet Under. His most

the world premiere of Ticheli’s Symphony No. 2,

recent project was music for Disney’s Finding Nemo.

including seven years at Thornton.



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USC Thornton School of Music

USC Thornton School of Music Newsletter is published once a year by the USC Thornton School of Music, Marketing & Communications, Lijljana Grubisic, Director. Design by Warren Group | Studio Deluxe





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See page 12 for more information

April 26, 2004


April 18, 2004


January 22 and 25, 2004






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