Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California

The Thornton School is one of the major west coast institutions, located in  Los Angeles.

Thornton School of Music students performing under the direction of Bob Berg

USC Thornton boasts over a thousand students, over 600 of whom are undergraduates and 445 are grad students. The student body represents over 40 countries.

The school confers bachelor of music degrees, master’s and doctorates. As an example, the BM in Jazz Studies is a four-year, 132-unit program that culminates with a senior recital.

Sax section at the Thornton School of Music

Ensembles featuring student performances include the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, led by Bob Mintzer of Yellowjackets fame… the USC Jazz Orchestra…the USC Afro-Latin American Jazz Ensemble, the Crescendo Vocal Jazz Choir, and the USC Thornton Jazz Honors Combo.

You may be familiar with some of the faculty – such as drummer Peter Erskine, pianist Russell Ferrante,  bassist Alphonso Johnson, drummer Roy McCurdy, saxophonist Bob Sheppard and trombonist Bill Watrous, to name a few. The head of jazz studies at Thornton is Alan Pasqua.

There is an entire separate department devoted to Studio/Jazz Guitar, the first of its kind in the world.

If you think the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music meets your needs and goals, contact them: at the Department of Jazz Studies, their web address is:  – or call them at (213) 740-3119.  The Studio/Jazz Guitar contact info: or their phone number: (213) 740-7399.

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