Leila Ruth Abou-Jaoude, from Lexington, KY, composed an original musical about the German Romantic concert pianist and composer Clara Schumann for her senior thesis—a project combining her work as a concentrator in the Department of Music with her Certificates in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Music Theater, Theater, and Vocal Performance. A vocalist and violinist, Leila was also a member of the Early Music Princeton and Sinfonia ensembles. Highlights of her time at Princeton include attending an early workshop of Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown’s musical on her fourth day of classes; seeing thirteen shows in New York as part of a course; studying with and performing for director John Doyle, and performing a staged reading of her senior thesis.
“As I reflect on my time at Princeton, I would like to highlight a few of my favorite musical moments. The first took place just a few days after the start of my freshman year. I was enrolled in the Atelier, Connecting with The Connector, taught by Jason Robert Brown. As part of the class, we were all invited to attend an early workshop of his musical, The Connector, which we discussed as he developed it during the course. It was only my fourth day of classes at Princeton, yet I spent it sitting behind a Tony award winning composer as he composed at the piano. Later in the semester, I saw thirteen shows in New York as part of Professor Brian Herrera’s course Theater and Society Now. As a sophomore, I had the opportunity to study with and perform for John Doyle, a director I had always admired. Finally, I had the incredible chance to perform a staged reading of my thesis in early April.”