Reena Esmail

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Reena Esmail (born 11 February 1983) is an Indian-American music composer of Indian and Western classical music.

Esmail has been commissioned to compose pieces for ensembles including Amherst College Choir and Orchestra,[1] Santa Fe Pro Musica,[2] Conspirare,[3] Los Angeles Master Chorale,[4] Kronos Quartet, Imani Winds, Richmond Symphony, Town Music Seattle, Albany Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Juilliard415, and Yale Institute of Sacred Music.[citation needed]

Esmail attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and earned her Bachelor of Music degree in composition from The Juilliard School and her Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Yale School of Music. Her doctoral thesis, entitled "Finding Common Ground: Uniting Practices in Hindustani and Western Art Musicians", explores the methods and challenges of the collaborative process between Hindustani musicians and Western Composers.[citation needed]

Esmail is the composer-in-residence at the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Seattle Symphony. She is an Artistic Director of Shastra, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural music collaboration between the music tradition of India and the West.[citation needed]

She lives in Los Angeles, California.[citation needed]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • United States Artist Fellow in Music 2019[5]
  • S&R Foundation Washington Award Grand Prize 2019[6]
  • Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Citizen Artist Fellow 2017-2018[7]
  • Two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (2002, 2007)[8]
  • Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2012[9]
  • INK Fellow 2011[10]
  • Winner in the MTAC-WLA Chamber Music Competition for piano performance[11]
  • Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Scholar 2011-2012[12]


Esmail composes for orchestra, solo instrument, chamber ensemble, and voice. Works include Barso Re (2010) for Yale Sur et Veritaal, Yale's Hindi a cappella organization.[13]


  1. ^ "Amherst Tuning In: 19th Amendment Commission | Calendar of Events | Amherst College".
  2. ^ "Pro Musica announces 2020-21 Season – Santa Fe Pro Musica".
  3. ^ "The Singing Guitar | Conspirare".
  4. ^ Los Angeles Master Chorale. "Reena Esmail".
  5. ^ "United States Artists » Reena Esmail".
  6. ^ "The S&R Washington Award Winners | S&R Foundation".
  7. ^ "Citizen Artist Fellows of The Kennedy Center 2017-2018 | Kennedy Center".
  8. ^ Sheridanon, Molly (2002-06-04). "To Be Young and Talented: 2002 Morton Gould Young Composer Award Winners | New Music USA". Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  9. ^ "Awards – American Academy of Arts and Letters".
  10. ^ "Stories, Ideas and Perspectives | 300+ Inspirational talks by remarkable people from INK events -".
  11. ^ The Instrumentalist, Volume 57, Issues 1-6. Association for the Advancement of Instrumental Music. 2002. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  12. ^ "USIEF". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  13. ^ "Music". Retrieved 23 October 2010.