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USC Thornton alumni win Grammys on music’s big day

Awards demonstrate the talent and diversity of the music school’s former students

Billy Childs
Billy Childs was among the Grammy Award winners Sunday. (Photo/David Katzenstein)

USC Thornton School of Music alumni Ben Bram ’11, Billy Childs ’79, Scott Hoying and Cory Smythe MM ’01 walked away with awards at the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8 at the Nokia Theater. From a cappella performances to chamber music collaborations, the awards showcased the diversity of talent among USC Thornton’s alumni. Childs has won multiple Grammys, but the others are first-time winners.

Bram, who graduated from the school’s Music Industry program, and Hoying, a former student in Popular Music, won for best arrangement, Instrumental or a cappella for “Daft Punk” from the Pentatonix album PTX, Vol. 2. The a cappella group formed in 2011 and gained prominence that year by winning the third season of NBC’s The Sing-Off.

Childs won for best arrangement, instruments and vocals for the song “New York Tendaberry” from the album Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. In addition to last night’s award, Childs was also nominated for best jazz vocal album and best American roots performance. Childs, who studied composition at USC Thornton, previously won three Grammys for instrumental composition and arrangement.

Smythe, who studied piano performance with faculty member Stewart Gordon, won for best chamber music/small ensemble performance for the album In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores with violinist Hilary Hahn. Over a decade in the making, the album was the result of the celebrated violinist commissioning more than 24 composers to write short-form pieces for acoustic violin and piano.

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USC Thornton alumni win Grammys on music’s big day

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