Reena Esmail

Composer

www.reenaesmail.com

Composer Reena Esmail on mentorship, music as sustenance, and the wisdom of preparing for “wild success.” 

 
 

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, and brings communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces. 

Esmail holds degrees in composition from The Juilliard School (BM’05) and the Yale School of Music (MM’11, MMA’14, DMA’18). Her primary teachers have included Susan BottiAaron Jay KernisChristopher Theofanidis and Martin BresnickChristopher Rouse and Samuel Adler. She has won numerous awards, including the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (and subsequent publication of a work by C.F. Peters) and two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

Esmail was on the composition and theory faculty at Manhattan School of Music Precollege from 2006-2011. She taught the music theory core curriculum at Yale College from 2012-14. Recently, Esmail has worked with young composers through mentorship programs including Shastra’s Arranging with Hindustani Music, Pasadena Master Chorale’s Listening to the Future. She also mentors young women composers through the Kaufmann Center’s program, The Luna Lab.

In addition to her work as a composer, Esmail is the Co-Artistic Director of Shastra, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural music that connects the great musical traditions of India and the West. She is also the Composer-in-Residence with Street Symphony, where she works with communities experiencing homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles.

Esmail currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by Rachel Garcia

Mentioned in this episode


LISTEN/WATCH

Movement II of I Rise begins at 00:41 and movement V is excerpted at the close of the episode at 29:12. Performed by the Dolce Women’s Ensemble, Lehigh University and conducted by Sun Min Lee.
This piece is available for listening at:
http://www.reenaesmail.com/i-rise-women-in-song/


This Love Between Us begins at 9:16. Performed by Yale Schola Cantorum & Juilliard 415; Rabindra Goswami, sitar; Ramu Pandit, tabla. Conducted by David Hill. Read more about this piece here.
This piece is not currently available to stream online, but see the video to the right under “See Also” to watch a video of a performance of movement VI.


String Quartet begins at 18:20. Performed by Salastina Music Society.


I Rise, movement V is excerpted at 29:12. Performed by the Dolce Women’s Ensemble, Lehigh University and conducted by Sun Min Lee.
This piece is available for listening at:
http://www.reenaesmail.com/i-rise-women-in-song/


SEE ALSO