JESSE PARIS SMITH is a composer, instrumentalist, activist, producer, and co-founder of Pathway to Paris. She has performed globally in many configurations, collaborating with other musicians and artists. Her music compositions have been commissioned for films, commercial work, installations, fashion shows, audiobooks, and live film score performances. Her music has been commissioned often by director Steven Sebring (including for a film series which received a Clio Image Award), as well as Aesop, UNDP, and other companies and film makers. She is a graduate of the Sound and Music Institute, a professional training focused on integrative practices of therapeutic music and sound. She also studied Performance Wellness with the late Louise Montello. Many of her projects and collaborations with others focus on the topics of global climate change and the Himalaya. She is on the Associate Board of Tibet House US, where she has co-curated and hosted events and has performed many times at their annual benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. In 2014, Jesse and Montreal based cellist, Rebecca Foon, launched Pathway to Paris, a non-profit organization focused on global climate change and raising awareness of the urgent importance of turning the Paris Agreement into reality, offering tangible solutions for this to happen, including their 1000 Cities Initiative launched in November 2017. In light of the Himalayan earthquake in April 2015, Jesse also founded Everest Awakening, an initiative which raises awareness and funding for various projects in Nepal and Tibet. Jesse was born in Detroit, and spent her childhood in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. She lives between Detroit and NYC.
For over 10 years, Jesse has been curating, producing, and hosting events in NYC and all around the world. For two years, she curated, produced, and co-hosted a monthly multi media true story telling event called Talkingstick at the Rubin Museum of Art, the Himalayan art museum in NYC. She co-curated and co-hosted a weekly seasonal event at Tibet House US called Mindful Music and Sound Series, an educational music based series focused on Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Other events have included ‘To Nepal with Love,’ which featured Nepalese and Tibetan poets, artists, and musicians, a 'Tribute to Roby Springer' held at Anthony Film Archives, and ‘Gathering for Nepal and Beyond,’ a relief fundraiser for Nepal and the Himalayan region after the earthquake of April, 2015. For many years, Jesse and her mother curated an annual event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, creating evenings of music, poetry, and stories inspired by one of the exhibits in the museum, or by a literary or historical figure or era. Events included themes such as Emily Dickinson, Hildegard von Bingen, Joan of Arc, William Blake, Georgia O'Keefe, and Walt Whitman. They also brought this idea to other venues such as MoMA and The Morgan Library and Museum. Pathway to Paris, her collaboration with Rebecca Foon, has produced and hosted events since 2014, including two consecutive evenings the Le Trianon theatre in Paris during the first week of Cop21, their 2017 event at Carnegie Hall in NYC, programming at FORM Festival in Arizona, a live radio hosted event for WQXR/WNYC, and their most recent events in California (Masonic Auditorium in SF and Ace Theatre in LA) to cap off the Global Climate Action Summit. Whether she is putting together an event on her own, in collaboration with others, or is invited onto an event as a performer or speaker, Jesse enjoys seeing people of all different backgrounds and vocations joining together, creating platforms for new collaborations and experiences that otherwise may not have taken place, which includes that of the persons onstage and those in the audience.