Announcing Jason King as Dean of USC Thornton

Dear USC Thornton School Community,

On behalf of President Folt, I am pleased to announce that we will welcome Dr. Jason King as Dean of the USC Thornton School of Music, effective July 1, 2023.

Dr. King will join us from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where he is Chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and a James Weldon Johnson Associate Professor. As a scholar, journalist, musician, performer, producer, songwriter, curator and more, Dr. King has served in a range of leadership positions since the founding of the Clive Davis Institute in 2003. He was the Institute’s founding full-time faculty member and worked alongside Davis to help develop the program; he has also
served as Associate Chair, Artistic Director, and Director of Writing, History and Emergent Media, as well as inaugural Director of Global Studies.

As a scholar and public intellectual, Dr. King’s multidisciplinary work includes African-American and African Diasporic cultural studies; performance studies; globalization and transnationalism studies; media and technology studies; music business, marketing, and branding studies; and gender and queer studies. His scholarly and creative work spans a wide range of music styles, from pop and R&B, to gospel and classical, to jazz and rock, and more. He has taught classes at NYU for more than two decades, including four years at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus. At the Clive Davis Institute, he worked to develop many of its signature programs, including its free high-school pipeline program Future Music Moguls and its professional development initiatives.

An influential, well-connected figure in the music world, Dr. King has been able to bring numerous high-profile guests to NYU to share their experience and wisdom with that community, and he has recruited musical luminaries to participate in its annual Pop Conference, as the host and keynote producer.

Dr. King is an inaugural member of the Hip Hop Culture Council at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Black Genius Brain Trust, and he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Popular Music Studies. He brings a long history of publications as a scholar and a journalist, and extensive experience working with internationally known media outlets on series, podcasts, documentaries, and more.

Josh Kun will continue to serve as Interim Dean throughout the Spring semester. I’d like to express our deep gratitude to Josh, whose bold vision and passionate advocacy throughout his time as Interim Dean has continued to propel Thornton’s critical role in the arts at USC and in Los Angeles, and set a strong foundation for its new dean.

The invaluable partnership of the Thornton School’s Board of Councilors vastly enhanced our search through their expertise and counsel. Thank you as well to the Thornton School Search Advisory Committee, chaired by Elizabeth Daley, Dean of the School of Cinematic Arts, who provided thoughtful service through a lengthy process. Our search also benefitted from the input and participation of so many members of the Thornton community, whose feedback throughout the process has demonstrated their enthusiasm and passion for the school.

Please join President Folt and me as we welcome Jason to USC. We are excited that he will be able to leverage his strong network and interdisciplinary experience of performance, teaching, production, research, and business acumen to benefit the Thornton School of Music community. Our school is a thriving group of scholars, artists, performers, educators and more, and we look forward to continuing to advance our pursuit of musical excellence.

Elizabeth A. Graddy
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

cc: Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President