[PIANO PLAYING]

WARREN RIEUTORT-LOUIS:
I think what inspires me is to make
people feel something. Very much a lot of my
work as an engineer is building things that
are useful to people. Me, my inspiration as music is
sort of more qualitative, more in sort of how can you create a
bond between an actor or singer and a audience member.
And it’s how to develop that
really sort of inspires me.
I’m Warren Rieutort-Louis,
and I’m a fifth year electrical engineer.
I’m studying in the PhD
program in electronic materials and devices.

I’ve always had a very big
interest in electronics from quite a young age.
You can build these
really cool systems that are so dense and so powerful.
I’m now looking, along with so
many other people in my field, that taking those elements of
electronics that have allowed things like
computing to develop, to grow into things
like large scale systems that can be around us all
the time in monitoring us. I think it’s a very
cool thing to be able to do to have
sort of living electronics– have electronics
that can respond to you. And so I came to Princeton
a couple of years ago and started my PhD.
And the first few years
of PhD are very intense. So we spend time studying,
prepare for the general exams. And then after my
general exam there was this opportunity to
take a course in conducting. And it kind of all
snowballed from there. Taking that course
in conducting allowed me to create so many contacts
within the musical field at Princeton and the
theatrical field at Princeton. I joined the Princeton
University Glee Club for example, as
part of this course.
So as an engineer
obviously I’ve studied a great deal of the basic
mathematical properties of music, and the
properties of sound, the properties of frequencies.
Finding how to apply how they
actually work in a real setting where you have a music piece
and you see how that music piece develops, and you realize
that sound is a great deal more than a set of
frequencies, that sound is about creating emotion.
And how do you combine different
melodies, different lines in a piece to inspire people.
I’ve used my
engineering knowledge to better understand the
theoretical underpinnings of music.
The theory that goes behind
why it is that a piece sounds as good as it does,
or a piece sounds odd when you listen to it.
But at the same time
putting that aside in a way and sort of
coming from the other angle and thinking of well,
what is the emotion we want to convey here.

Everything can
come together, all these moving parts of a
theatrical production. And it’s very much like an
engineering system in a way. You have the equations
that make things work, and then the practical
systems that are built, and then correlating
everything into something that works is incredible.
And so when I wake up
in the morning, one of the first things I
do I go and play piano because I know that a day
that starts with piano is going to be a good day.
And so for me it’s incredible.
[PIANO PLAYING]