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.
Reginald Bain has composed a wide variety of instrumental and vocal music that has
been performed by leading artists across the U.S. and Europe. He has written extensively
for the theater and is an accomplished electro-acoustic composer whose works employ
unique tuning systems, algorithmic approaches, and musical sonification techniques.
Distinguished emeritus Samuel Douglas is the composer of works for various musical
media including orchestra, band, chorus, and chamber music. He has written music for
movies, theatrical productions, and three operas. His chamber music has been written
for a wide variety of vocal and instrumental forces including electronic sound. He
is the recipient of ASCAP Awards in composition for 1990 and 1991.
Fang Man’s music has been performed worldwide by notable orchestras and ensembles.
She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Koussevitzky Foundation Commission,
Opera America Discovery Grant, the 47th UWRF Commissioned Composer, the National Endowment
for the Arts Award, among others.
David Kirkland Garner
David Garner writes chamber, orchestral, electroacoustic and vocal works, often drawing
on other music as a point of departure, from Beethoven to bluegrass. A frequent source
of inspiration is the music of the American South. He is especially interested in
aspects of performance surrounding the tunes themselves including style, technique,
tuning, timbre, instrumentation and improvisation.
Gordon (Dick) Goodwin
Distinguished emeritus Dick Goodwin works in virtually every idiom from jingle to
opera, jazz band to orchestra, have been performed across the U.S. and abroad. He
has had a long association with the South Carolina Philharmonic composing, arranging,
occasionally conducting and playing double bass and trumpet and continues to lead
the Dick Goodwin Big Band and the Dick Goodwin Quintet.
Tayloe Harding, dean of the School of Music, is a passionate advocate for advancing
the impact of higher education music study and experience on American communities
and national society. He is a frequent presenter on issues facing the future of university
music units and their leadership, and he remains active as a composer earning commissions,
performances and recordings for his works around the world.
John Fitz Rogers
Composer John Fitz Rogers' music has been performed around the world in leading venues
and by ensembles and festivals like Carnegie Hall, Bang on a Can Marathon, Pittsburgh
New Music Ensemble and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. He has
received many commissions, fellowships and awards, including those from ASCAP, the
American Composers Forum and numerous others.