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A Little bit of East, a little bit of West, a whole lot of Reena

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Global citizens of India

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Indian-American composer, Reena Esmail, is a graduate of Juilliard and has a masters from the Yale School of Music. She was a recipient of a Fulbright-Nehru grant for the 2011-2012 year and studied Hindustani vocal music in New Delhi, India. She was selected as a 2011 INK Fellow to speak about her work at the INK Conference (in association with TED) in Jaipur, with additional speaking engagements in Chennai, Delhi and Goa. Her work draws elements from both Western and Hindustani (North Indian) classical music.

Her primary teachers have included Susan Botti, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Theofanidis and Martin Bresnick, Christopher Rouse and Samuel Adler. . Her most recent Hindustani vocal studies have been with Srimati Lakshmi Shankar and Saili Kalyanpur in Los Angeles, CA.

She has won numerous awards, including the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (with forthcoming publication of a work by C.F. Peters) and two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. She is currently a Post- Residential doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Music. Reena’s doctoral thesis, entitled Finding Common Ground: Uniting Practies in Hindustani and Western Art Musicians explores the methods and challenges of the collaborative process between Hindustani musicians and Western composers.

For the 2010-11 season, she was the conductor and arranger for Yale’s Hindi a cappella group, Sur et Veritaal.  Her commissions include: Teen Murti, for string orchestra, Curiosity for the Pasadena Master Chorale, Tuttarana for Mount Holyoke Glee Club, and Vishwas for the Albany Symphony and bharatanatyam dancer Sisira Gorthala. Reena’s recent film work includes scores for Kali Juger Kumbh, a Bengali film by Ashish Avikunthak and Radha, by Rupeshi Shah.

Reena currently lives in Los Angeles, California. 

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