Jeffrey Kahane
Courtesy of the USC Thornton School of Music

After 20 years as the musical director of the celebrated Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), Jeffrey Kahane will soon begin his second act at USC. The renowned conductor and pianist joins the USC Thornton School of Music’s Keyboard Studies department as a full-time professor in this year.

A close relationship between USC Thornton and LACO made the decision an easy one. “I have spent so much time in Los Angeles, and I have so many connections both from my work with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, on the faculty at USC and in other places, it just seemed like a natural and wonderful transition that allows me to continue to deepen and broaden my relationships here,” Kahane says.

But he’s only the latest link between USC Thornton and the orchestra, which has been called one of the nation’s best ensembles. Several other members of LACO in addition to Kahane sit on the school’s faculty, including concertmaster Margaret Batjer and principal cellist Andrew Shulman.

Composition faculty member Andrew Norman is currently the orchestra’s composer-in-residence.

In January, USC hosted Kahane’s Lift Every Voice festival, which highlights the power of music to promote tolerance. It featured a performance by members of LACO and faculty and students from USC Thornton.

Julia Adolphe, a USC Thornton doctoral student in composition, is slated to create a new work for LACO’s Sound Investment orchestral series, which premieres in March.

And to help a new generation of young musicians, the organizations have partnered on educational initiatives such as the LACO-USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program, which stages mock auditions for students to gain professional performing experience.