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As an innovator in the musical world, Kisma Jordan strives to increase the diversity of classical music and opera by challenging the biased system deeply entrenched in the industry for centuries. A classically-trained opera singer, composer, and educator, Kisma is distinctly aware of the power of her voice, not only as an instrument but also as a vehicle to effect change. She is an artist that values authenticity and justice and owns the truth of her vocal gift and its connection to her life's work and purpose.
As a child, Kisma recognized her passion for music early on. Her vocal gift and appreciation for classical and opera developed in high school, becoming the foundation for her collegiate music education. Kisma holds multiple degrees in vocal performance, including a Bachelor of Music from Kentucky State University, a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University, and a Graduate Performance Degree in Opera from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. During her vocal studies, which started at age fourteen, she received training from renowned voice teachers, including Metropolitan Opera soprano Myra Merritt and Ruth Golden.
Kisma has delivered stunning performances on some of the most prestigious opera stages across the country. Previous seasons have included appearances with Michigan Opera, Annapolis Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago in Porgy and Bess (Clara cover), and the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric in The Rake's Progress as Anne Trulove. More recent solo features include Home for the Holidays with the Detroit Symphony, Mahler's Symphony no. 4 with the Jackson Symphony, and Barber's Summer of Knoxville: 1915 with the Warren Philharmonic.
A consummate professional dedicated to perfecting her craft, Kisma has received many prestigious awards and accolades throughout her career. She was a top prize winner in the Soma International Foundation's Lois Alba Aria Competition. She also captured 1st Prize in both Opera Theater of Pittsburgh's Mildred Miller International Vocal Competition and the National Opera Association's Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition. Among other awards are the Harold Haugh Light Opera Vocal Competition (1st Prize), Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation (2nd Prize), The Cleveland Foundation (A. Grace Lee Mims Vocal Scholarship Award), and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (National Semifinalist, 1st place Great Lakes Region). Upon winning her first professional fellowship, the Kresge Artist Fellowship in Music, she discovered an opportunity to have more creative control by creating something innovative and authentic. Through The OperaSOUL Experience, Kisma merges the classical and operatic music that she loves with popular music's catchy beats and rhythms. She believes that neither opera nor pop is a limited genre. When merged, they create a new genre of music that is accessible to modern audiences and a broader platform for skilled, versatile vocalists. Kisma's work with OperaSOUL pushes the boundaries of contemporary art by presenting artistic expression in unconventional ways.
In 2017, Kisma introduced OperaSOUL at TedX Detroit and never looked back. In recognition of the phenomenal success of Kisma's OperaSOUL project, the Knight Foundation awarded her the Knight Arts Challenge grant in 2017. This grant has enabled her to pave new ways to build equity and accessibility for the opera and classical music industries. With a dedication to integrated racial representation in art, Kisma believes that opera, in particular, is an ideal medium for essential discussions around race and inclusion. She is committed to working with others to usher in a multi-racial operatic renaissance.
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