Malesha Jessie Taylor is a classically-trained vocal artist, educator, activist and visionary leader who recently delivered a talk and performance at TEDx Chula Vista entitled “What Do You See.” Her musically-inspired talk expresses her experiences as a woman of color in the field of opera. A recent transplant to Atlanta, GA in the age of Stacey Abrams, Malesha supports arts organizations and educational institutions by providing relevant programming and productions that create community, honor cultural heritage and empower youth. An educator at heart, Malesha served on the music faculty of California State University, San Marcos where she was celebrated in a recent article, “Helping Students Achieve their Dreams.” During her time at CSUSM, she taught vocal students in multiple genres classical, jazz, musical theater and popular music. She was also a Visiting Professor of Voice at Scripps College, liberal arts woman’s college in Claremont, CA.
Artistically, Malesha’s work spans from traditional opera, new music, improvisation to social practice. Her engagements include solo performances with the Boston Pops Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra to name a few. Malesha has performed principal roles with Los Angeles Opera among the greats Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick, Placido Domingo, and Sondra Radvanovsky. She also performed the role of Annie in Porgy and Bess in the Francesca Zambello filmed production with San Francisco Opera, as seen on PBS. While living in Brooklyn, New York, Malesha ventured into social practice and staged impromptu performances in bodegas, laundromats, buses and barbershops in Brooklyn, NY. Her performances and the resulting interactions with spectators, collectively named Guerrilla Opera, were apart of the exhibition, Cultural Fluency: Engagements with Contemporary Brooklyn at BRIC Arts (Brooklyn Information and Culture). "Guerrilla Opera" was soon duplicated in Southeast San Diego and was presented by the San Diego Museum of Man in October 2016. Malesha has also worked in experimental improvisation with artists at the University of California, San Diego, and was featured with Composer/Soundscape Artist, Yvette Jackson in “Invisible People, a radio opera.” During her tenure at Cal State San Marcos, Malesha performed on a vocal loop station with The Experimental Dance Project inspired by the work of movement artists Anya Cloud and Jaamil Olawale Kosoko.
Holding to her values of inclusion in the classical music canon, Malesha has collaborated/promoted the work of female composers, Ellen Mandel, Jenni Brandon, Carolyn Chen, and Nkieru Okoye among others.
Additionally, Malesha has worked in arts education and non-profit administration in various capacities from diversity and justice initiatives to curriculum development for youth in marginalized communities. She has held consulting and leadership positions with the University of Southern California, La Jolla Playhouse, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Music Center, MOXIE Theater (woman’s theater), the Old Globe Theater, and the City University of New York: Creative Arts Team. Pictured above, Malesha supported grassroots organization, Pillars of the Community in a community-based rally, “Wanna Be Free: A Concert for the People.” This concert tour was apart of the California Endowment #SchoolsNotPrisons initiative which promotes non-violence, activism and voting among young people.
Combining the rich experiences of the stage, higher education, arts administration and community engagement, Malesha seeks to bridge the gap between artists and the community by providing opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue, social change, and innovation in arts and culture. She is the Founder of museSalon Collaborative, a consultancy and network of artists and organizations using the arts to be a catalyst for change.
Malesha seeks to expand the narrative in her role as a bridge-builder between artists, educators, demographers, marketers, and business leaders. She has become a thought leader in using creativity to address inequity, and using art as a tool for activism. Malesha has published about issues of equity and diversity within the arts sector. Her essay on diversity and community engagement was published by HowlRound and she was also a panelist at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, ArtChangeUS: REMAP, which is apart of the national platform, Arts in a Changing America.
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