top of page

Rajna Swaminathan


by Kristine England

April 7, 2024

Composer Rajna Swaminathan is an acclaimed artist known for her mastery of the mridangam, a South Indian percussion instrument traditionally associated with Carnatic music. One of the few women to play the instrument, Rajna Swaminathan’s father, P.K. Swaminathan, began teaching her at age five. She went on to study with legendary maestro Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. As with many Indian drums, the mridangam infuses compositions with complex textures and dynamics. Rajna’s works exist at the intersection of East and West, and she has been hailed as “a vital new voice” on the scene. (Pop Matters)

Rajna’s compositions have graced dance and theatrical productions, and she’s a member of the We Have Voice collective (with Teri Lyne Carrington, Imani Uzuri, Fay Victor, and others) -- a group of female artists who are committed to creating safe, equitable spaces for creativity to thrive. Active in the New York music scene, her RAJAS project explores her native music with that of jazz and improvisation. The collaborative has released three albums, with the latest, Apertures, released in 2023.

In addition to her work as a musician and composer, Rajna is an educator and has taught at the New England Conservatory and UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts.


bottom of page