Rajna Swaminathan

Professor Swaminathan holds a PhD in Music from Harvard University’s Creative Practice and Critical Inquiry program and is an improviser, composer, and scholar. Her dissertation–Time, Virtuosity, and Ethics Otherwise: Queer Resonances for Diasporic Play– represents a productive dialog between scholarship and creative practice. Professor Swaminathan’s primary instrument is the mrudangam, one of the central instruments in Karnatik music and South Indian dance. As the founder and leader of the ensemble RAJAS, she asserts herself as an artist at the forefront of new intercultural horizons driven by the improvisational sensibilities of South Asian and African diasporic musical practices, creative music, and jazz. As a composer, Professor Swaminathan's recognition is rising fast nationally and internationally, being programmed and commissioned by notable venues and presenters, such as Chamber Music America, National Sawdust, the LA Phil, and the Bang on a Can Marathon. In addition to deepening the department through her experience integrating cross-cultural inquiry into rhythm and embodiment with queer theory and Black studies, she is a core faculty member of the department’s Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology (ICIT) PhD program.

Assistant Professor
Core faculty, Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology PhD