Ep 58-Reena Esmail on Finding Your Niche

Ep 58-Reena Esmail on Finding Your Niche

Reena Esmail is a composer of orchestral, choral and chamber music. She is a graduate of Yale and Juilliard, and a recent Fulbright grantee to India. Her music explores the spaces between Indian and Western classical music. She has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and ASCAP, and she has written commissions for the American Composers Orchestra, Albany Symphony, and the Kronos Quartet, among many others. Reena currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.


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Composer Reena Esmail discusses how she found her nice and gives advice on how you can, too!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Fulbright grants
  • Indian (Hindustani) music
  • Using Indian musicians
  • Composing as a hobby vs. as a career
  • How a composer really receives commissions
  • Actions that lead to commissions
  • Getting to know the right people
  • Letting your niche bring commissions to you
  • Waiting to find your niche
  • Ask for what you want & what you need
  • Paying attention to other people’s behavior
  • Pandering vs. Artistic integrity
  • Collaboration with performers
  • Contracts
  • Leaving the score open-ended


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  1. Sakari February 18, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Yay! Thanks for bringing her on the show, I really enjoyed it. 🙂

    • admin February 20, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      I was thinking of you the whole time I interviewed her! Reena is an amazing composer and a wonderful woman. Thank you for recommending her for the show.

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