In the past few decades, more women have come to the front in the world of orchestral music than ever before! And it’s important to note that these women have brought their contemporary experiences and realities with them. Hi – I’m Loki Karuna, and on this edition of Noteworthy you and I are going to enjoy the music of a composer who’s engaged today’s realities for women head on: composer Reena Esmail.

Reena is a composer who not only celebrates women through her work, but also her Indian-American heritage. By blending these two very different musical aesthetics, Reena has emerged as one of today’s most performed composers, with a catalogue that not only celebrates other women in the field, but women from all walks of life who are fighting for equity and equality. In 2020, she was invited to collaborate on an album that specifically featured works by women, and what she came up with was this: a work titled Black Iris that musically engages the #metoo movement.

If you visit her website, you’ll see that Reena has a lot more up her sleeve, with a piano concerto, a work for soprano, and even a choral suite all in the works for the coming years. Reena Esmail is leading the way celebrating both her womanhood and women across cultures, making her one of today’s most Noteworthy composers.

Noteworthy is a production of WDAV classical public radio.

Pictured: Reena Esmail courtesy of