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Music News

Writer and Composer

Celebrating Collaboration

July 10, 2014

“Writer and Composer” is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration that draws students from three graduate-level classes offered through USC Dornsife and USC Thornton School of Music. Student writers, vocalists and…

In her new book <em>Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora</em> (New York University Press), USC Dornsife’s Shana Redmond takes a critical look at black music's largely unexplored anthem genre and its contributions to social justice movements. Photo by Erica Christianson.

‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’

January 6, 2014

It was a beautiful spring day in Johannesburg. The year was 1994. At the inauguration ceremony where Nelson Mandela took the oath of office as the first democratically elected black president of South Africa, the victorious…

Edwin Hill, assistant professor of French and Italian, found inspiration for <em>Black Soundscapes White Stages</em> (cover on right) during his travels throughout the United States, France and the French Antilles. Meeting people of color from around the world motivated him to examine the ways race is constructed on a global stage. Photo of Edwin Hill by Michelle Boston.

Black Soundscapes White Stages

October 25, 2013

For Edwin Hill, the key to understanding the black Atlantic diaspora in the years between World Wars I and II is to listen. On a Parisian stage, a band beat their drums to the Caribbean rhythm of the beguine, a musical genre…

USC Dornsife junior Eduardo Mollinedo-Piñon (standing) co-directs as Foshay Learning Center's music director, Vincent Womack, plays the trumpet during a rehearsal of the Foshay Symphonic Band. Front row (from left) Audrey Burke, Leslie Romero, Amber Johnson, Emmanuel Marquez and Christopher Ayuso. Second row (from left) Herman Lorenzo, Byron Gomez and Melvin Perez. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Playing It Forward

October 24, 2013

First the high, brassy notes of the trumpets sound, followed by the mellow, reedy tones of the alto saxophones. Tumbling piano scales join the cacophony accompanied by rolling drum beats and the slow groove of an electric bass…

World renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma (left) and University Professor Antonio Damasio engage in a spontaneous discussion about music's role in reducing personal pain and increasing joy. Photo by Steve Cohn.

Edge Effect

September 3, 2013

Strumming the cello strings with his thumb, American cellist and virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma played a simple, ascending chromatic scale. “What emotion is this?” he asked the audience at Cammilleri…

Mary Gerlitz was a devoted member of staff at USC Dornsife for 44 years and will be remembered for her warmth and kindness. She was also a highly accomplished organist and co-founder of the Cantori Domino choral group based in Santa Monica, Calif.  Photo courtesy of Cantori Domino.

In Memoriam: Mary Gerlitz, 68

August 29, 2013

Mary Gerlitz, an honors programs administrative coordinator, has died after 44 years of loyal service to USC Dornsife. She was 68. Gerlitz died on Aug. 1, at Keck Hospital of USC in Los Angeles from heart failure. In 2009,…

William Grant Still conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in a piece titled <em>Old California</em> that he wrote for the city of Los Angeles' Birthday Concert on Sept. 8, 1965. All photos courtesy of Judith Anne Still.

Still Life

January 4, 2013

Packed neatly in brown paper and carefully tied with string, hundreds of bundles of music sat forgotten on the shelves of a linen closet in the Los Angeles home of Judith Anne Still’s mother. One spring day in 1980,…

From left to right, USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay, USC President C. L. Max Nikias, USC Trustee David Dornsife, Dana Dornsife, Joyce Cammilleri, University Professor Hanna Damasio, University Professor Antonio Damasio and USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett, prepare to cut the symbolic ribbon during the Nov. 6 opening ceremony. Photo by Steve Cohn.

Pillars of Support

November 7, 2012

The newest building at USC is organized like a brain, with spaces for both rational inquiry and appreciation of the beautiful. It’s a fitting home for a research center that merges the latest advances in neuroscience…

A new research project led by the USC Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI), housed in USC Dornsife, tracks brain, emotional and social development in children with and without musical training.

The Musical Brain

October 15, 2012

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (LA Phil), the USC Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI) housed in USC Dornsife, and Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) announced a research collaboration to investigate the emotional, social…

Yale composer Reena Esmail (left) was so moved by Carol Muske-Dukes' (right) poem, "White Key," she set it to music, which will be performed by Volti in San Francisco early March. Esmail photo by David Fung. Muske-Dukes photo by Carlos Puma.

White Key to Have West Coast Premiere

February 21, 2012

“White Key,” a poem by California Poet Laureate Carol Muske-Dukes of USC Dornsife, has been set to music by Yale composer Reena Esmail and will be performed by the famous Volti voice ensemble of 20 professional…