What Six Senior Music Majors’ Say About Their Theses

As the Spring semester concludes and in anticipation for the Class of 2024’s graduation, the Music Department asked six Senior Music Majors to expand on their creative theses and offer advice to future students preparing their own. The Music Department is proud to share the results of each Music Major’s cumulative work at Princeton, which highlights scholarly research and true mastery of their disciplines. 

Jared Bozinko

Thesis: SIN PHONY for two soprano clarinets, two auxiliary clarinets, two saxophones, and two horns

Jared: In the process of writing SIN PHONY, I found inspiration in seemingly twee places. Poulenc’s Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, a 1995 clarinet quartet by Met Opera clarinetist Sean Osborn, and Ligeti’s Six Bagatelles, a quirky wind quintet version of his Musica ricercataSIN PHONY is a chamber piece, technically an octet, for clarinets, saxes, and horns. My advisor, Dr. Dmitri Tymoczko, has been indispensable to the process, guiding me all fall semester in writing short chamber music sketches, which became the basis of the material that makes up my thesis. The process was so smooth and, at points, genuinely fun, and it was a great challenge as a composer to blend disparate thematic material from sketches written completely separately into cohesive, compelling music that had cohesion and let my compositional voice shine through.

Tanaka Dunbar Ngwara

Thesis: Paivapo ’76: A New Musical 

Tanaka: My thesis was an original musical entitled Paivapo ’76 and set in Domboshava Zimbabwe in 1976, during the Zimbabwean Liberation War. The show deals with the conflict between traditional practice/spirituality and Christianity, and explores themes of community, first love and grief. I received the Alex Adam ’07 Award to conduct research for this project over the summer and since the musical also served as independent work for my theater and music theater certificates, I was able to premiere the piece on May 3rd, 4th and 5th in the Wallace Theater in the Lewis Center Complex. 

Nina Green

Thesis: Flung Into Space: A Collection of Songs

Nina:  My thesis is a collection of six songs titled Flung Into Space. It consists of three story heavy songs about my life, along with an electronic counterpart for each which explores the same topic from a new perspective. 

Rupert Peacock

Thesis: John Farrant’s “O Lord Allmighty (ca. 1570):  The English Anthem at Ely Cathedral With Critical Edition

Rupert: My thesis is a critical edition and history surrounding a piece of unpublished English choral music. The piece is called “O Lord Almighty” by John Farrant. I went to the library at Cambridge University and looked through manuscripts from Ely cathedral, which is about 10 minutes from where I live in the UK. I found lots of great and famous choral works, but stumbled across this piece by Farrant almost by accident. Professor Wendy Heller taught me everything I needed to know to get this done. She’s an expert in critical editions and this kind of research. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Molly Trueman

Thesis: Angels & Aliens: The Making of an Album

Molly: For my thesis, I wrote and recorded my debut full-length album entitled Angels & Aliens. Based around acoustic guitar and vocals, the album has an alternative indie-folk feel. This is a milestone I’ve been working towards for a few years now, so I’m incredibly grateful that this album ended up being my thesis.

Gabriela Veciana

Thesis: Breaking the Sound Barrier: Investigating Latine Racial Bias Through Reggaetón Music

Gabriela: For my thesis, I researched colorism within Latine communities through reggaetón music. I knew I was interested in looking at identity and Latin music, but it wasn’t until I heard my advisor, Lisa Margulis, present her work in music cognition that I saw a potential connection with psychology fields. 

If you were to describe your thesis in one word, what would it be?

Jared : Darksided (hehe)

Tanaka: Fusion

Nina: Honest

Rupert: Difficult!

Molly: Extraterrestrial

Gabriela: Interdisciplinary!

What advice would you give to future seniors on creating a successful thesis?

Jared: Don’t be afraid that your thesis isn’t going to materialize in time, instead, always try to remember just why you chose this amazing department, and to remember your likely lifelong personal devotion to music. There’s a lot to love about being able to share your art as the capstone of your work at Princeton. 

Tanaka: If you can, use the thesis as an opportunity to work on something that you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time to do! It’s amazing to have the excuse of a thesis project to give you the drive and space to complete it. 

Nina: Try to start without judgement. The hardest part of writing my thesis was my own expectations of what my thesis should look like. 

Rupert: It has to be something you care about and/or are passionate about. It got to the point where I was actually looking forward to the next steps in my thesis and enjoyed working on it. That was crucial for motivation!

Molly: In terms of creating a thesis, my biggest piece of advice is to find a topic that you’re truly passionate about. Don’t settle for something you don’t care about.

Gabriela: You don’t always have to have a topic and then find an advisor, you can start by finding an advisor you are interested in working with and craft your topic from there.

What are your plans after graduation?

Jared: Still figuring it out, though I’m certain I want music to be a core component of my everyday life. I am trying to move to Philadelphia and get involved with their variety of music scenes, from DIY punk basement shows to chamber orchestras to early music groups. I also want to continue composing and am eager to hone my craft even further wherever I go. 

Tanaka: I’m going to attend the Royal Academy of Music for Music Theater vocal performance! I’m very excited to be in a new city, and get to do another music degree in a conservatory.

Nina: I’m moving to Nashville, TN and pursuing a career as a performing musician. I’ll also be releasing music soon as a part of the band Upwhirl, as well as later this year releasing my thesis. 

Rupert: I am going to split my time between singing and construction!

Molly: After graduation, I’m going to McGill University to study in the Sound Recording program.

Gabriela: I hope to work in theater administration in New York!

All News