Meet the New Music USA Board Co-Chairs Reena Esmail and Joe Walker

Meet the New Music USA Board Co-Chairs Reena Esmail and Joe Walker

Reena Esmail and Joe Walker’s co-chairing partnership will increase New Music USA’s capacity to draw from multiple perspectives as the organization responds to the shifting needs of the new music community. Together they bring direct experience of the challenges faced by independent artists and the community the organization supports, extensive experience steering organizations through times of financial uncertainty, and the ability to position New Music USA at the heart of a broader-than-ever constituency of partners and supporters.

We wanted to make sure the New Music USA community could hear from each of them more directly as they assume these roles.

Incoming Co-Chair Reena Esmail

Dear New Music USA community:

Since its inception, I’ve experienced New Music USA in so many ways: as a contributor to NewMusicBox, as an applicant to our Project Grants, as a member and Co-Chair of the Program Council, and as a member, and now Co-Chair, of the Executive Board. I’m incredibly honored to be serving alongside the brilliant Joe Walker, and to be following the passionate leadership of Fred Peters.

I want our field to be a microcosm of the world we want to see. The creation of new music should not be a zero-sum game: no one’s voice should matter less just because someone else’s voice matters more. When we represent all stakeholders in this field at the discussion table, it allows us to create the future we all want to see together—a future that fulfills our needs, and builds on the unique gifts we each have to offer.

Especially in this time, I’m honored to be able to serve this organization and to advocate for musicians to find the resources they need so they can continue the deep work of creation. I have seen firsthand how profoundly music changes lives, and connects us to one another—soul to soul, across cultures and communities. I know that with the support they need, artists will be at the forefront of the creative path that leads us into our new world.


Incoming Co-Chair Joe Walker

Hello all,

I have always believed in the importance and power of music. While I chose a different career path professionally, supporting creative music and artists has been of deep importance and satisfaction to me. And I have found that for me, the best way to do this has been helping as best I can highly impactful organizations like New Music USA. The power of one individual can be leveraged many times over.

New Music USA has always been a dynamic and evolving organization and I am extremely proud of what this organization has accomplished – over my more than 25 years on the Board. We are a unique combination of musicians, composers, and businesspeople who are passionate about music and capable of making a difference. With all we have accomplished there is still much opportunity to grow and broaden our impact, particularly when the demand is greater than ever. This is an incredible time of creativity in music and we still support only a fraction of what we want to. This is an incredible time for talented and diverse music creators and we still support only a fraction of who we want to. Changes in technology will help us to leverage our impact and perhaps most important, this is a time of great need for music to play its important role in society.

I am very excited to be taking on the role of co-Chair at New Music USA as we continue to evolve the organization to meet the needs of our community. Doing this in partnership with our Board and Councils, our other new Co-Chair Reena Esmail, our CEO Vanessa Reed and wonderful staff, our many supporters, and our community of artists, will be a great honor.


Read the full co-chair announcement press release here.

NewMusicBox provides a space for those engaged with new music to communicate their experiences and ideas in their own words. Articles and commentary posted here reflect the viewpoints of their individual authors; their appearance on NewMusicBox does not imply endorsement by New Music USA.