Tareq Abuissa is a Syrian-American composer, lyricist, and music director. Abuissa was born in Austin, MN on October 29, 1991. In 1995, the family moved to Iowa City, IA, where his parents and younger siblings reside. Abuissa began studying cello and piano at age 7 at the Preucil School of Music. Encouraged by his grandfather, he began teaching himself guitar and songwriting as a teenager, recording his first albums in the United Action for Youth studio. Piano and guitar would continue to provide his primary compositional outlets for years to come.
As a student at Iowa City High School, Abuissa composed a piece for his Symphony Orchestra and sat as a first-stand cellist in the 2009 Iowa All-State Orchestra Festival. He sang in Concert Choir, Jazz Choir, Männerchor, and the Iowa State Honors Choir. He also led a biweekly sketch comedy club, acted alongside special education students in Combined Efforts Theatre, and performed group improv at the Iowa All-State Speech Association Festival. Abuissa was named a National Merit Finalist and graduated in 2010.
Abuissa set out to Manhattan, NY for college, studying Music and Mathematics at Columbia University. His four-movement composition Seasonal and other works of chamber music were performed by student ensembles in venues including Columbia's Miller Theatre. Abuissa developed a love of lyric-writing and musical theatre while co-composing Columbia's 118th Annual Varsity Show, The Corporate Core. He held a Strategy & Business Development internship at Lincoln Center, where he then interned in Media Development to score two artist interview series. As a senior in 2014, he scored three Animation thesis films for USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and performed in a guitar-dance duet for a Department of Dance thesis at Barnard College.
In 2016, Abuissa moved to San Francisco, CA as the composer, lyricist, and music director of South of Market: The Musical. This year-in-review satire of the tech industry, created by a fellow Varsity Show alum, played two sold-out runs in October 2016 and 2017. In 2018, Abuissa moved back east to Brooklyn, NY to continue composing for theatre, and his band Ruby Jubilee released its self-titled album. Abuissa participated in the Mentor Program through the Society of Composers & Lyricists and serves as a teaching artist with Very Young Composers, an afterschool program of the New York Philharmonic.