Brooklyn-based composers Andrew Norman and Ted Hearne are joining the faculty of USC Thornton School of Music. Both will become full-time professors, with Norman starting this semester and Hearne in the fall semester of 2014.
Norman, a Thornton alumnus, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in music for “The Companion Guide to Rome,” a piece inspired by the year he spent living in the Italian city. Currently, Norman is composing a piano concerto for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The 30-year-old has also worked as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s composer-in-residence. Norman will teach a part-time course load this fall due to prior commitments, including Composition I. Students from Thornton said they already look forward to taking Norman’s classes.
“I will actually be studying composition with Norman this year — a successful, contemporary composer who has been commissioned to write works for a gamut of well-known music ensembles,” said Drew Mikuska, a sophomore majoring in music composition. “I greatly look forward to musical adventures on which Norman might take me and my fellow peers on this year — a breath of fresh air in a department already brimming with compositional geniuses.”
Norman himself is looking forward to beginning his new position at USC.
“I went to the Thornton school so this place means a lot to me,” Norman said. “I had great mentors there, and I’m looking forward to helping fellow young Trojans,” Norman said. “The school has a rich tradition of great performing teachers and great composing teachers. It’s a great honor to be a part of that.”
Norman believes his musical background will be a great addition to Thornton.
“I try to bring all my musical experience— being a pianist and composer— to my students,” Norman said. “[Having] been a freelance composer for about 10 years now, that’s the most valuable thing to bring to a student: the experience of being a composer in real life.”
Though not joining USC this year, Chicago native Ted Hearne will soon join Norman as a professor in Thornton. Hearne is most well-known for combining classic music with operatic and orchestral sounds into contemporary genres such as rock.
“I’m really into music that successfully combines different musical traditions into something original and confounding,” Hearne wrote in his bio for the Los Angeles philharmonic.
Professor of Composition Frank Ticheli offered some insight into the hiring of both Norman and Hearne.
“[Norman and Hearne] were chosen out of more than 100 applicants,” Ticheli said. “What drew us to them was the fact that they’re part of the hot Brooklyn [music] scene.”
Students also seem to be excited that Norman and Hearne both come from diverse and extensive musical backgrounds.
“It’s wonderful to see the music program expanding and welcoming more inspirational instructors to the Thornton family,” said Natasha Todd, a sophomore majoring in music industry.
“I hope to get the opportunity to learn from our newest faculty members and gain all the experience they have to offer.”