Rhonda Taylor has been on faculty at New Mexico State University since 2003, where she is the College Associate Professor of Saxophone and Music Theory. She completed her D.M.A. at the University of Arizona, where she studied with Kelland Thomas. She earned her M.M. as a graduate assistant of John Sampen at Bowling Green State University. Her additional studies include performances in master classes held by Fred Hemke and Eugene Rousseau, as well as attending Domaine Forget Music Academie to study with Jean-Marie Londeix and Jean-François Guay. In 2002, she was awarded a scholarship to the International Clarinet and Saxophone Connection held at New England Conservatory, where she studied with Arno Bornkamp, Jean-Michel Goury, and Kenneth Radnofsky.
Dr. Taylor is dedicated to the creation of meaningful sonic art of our time. She has commissioned, premiered, and/or recorded music by such composers as Chris Arrell, Rick Burkhardt, Ben Leeds Carson, Michael Colgrass, Nathan Davis, Ben Grosser, Jeffrey Mumford, Bernard Rands, Justin Rubin, and Avi Tchamni. Recent activities include lecture recitals on Gérard Grisey’s Anubis et Nout at institutions in the U.S. and abroad, and performances at new and experimental music festivals throughout the United States. Currently she is working closely with Guggenheim Award winner Steven Takasugi on a new work for saxophonist and electronics.
In recent years Dr. Taylor has expanded her artistic activity to include free improvisation. Her improvisatory work is focused primarily on exploring the extremes of the parameters of sound and perception for long durations of time: clear sound/distortion, low/high frequencies, soft/loud volume, etc. Her work is also often concerned with varying states of activity and intelligibility, of evoking a particular experience for the listener using both traditional and extended techniques on the saxophone. She released her first album of fully improvised solo music with electronic processing using Ableton Live 9, Nocturne, in 2013. Her second solo album of solo improvisations, Necropolis, debuted at the #1 rank for Avant Garde/Free Jazz on Amazon.com in August 2015. Her most recent release is the album Futures, a collaboration with composer Steven Leffue, in which she improvises with a computer using artificial intelligence. Her next solo album, Nth Volume One, will be released in November 2016. Rhonda Taylor is a Conn-Selmer artist and plays on Selmer Paris saxophones exclusively.
From a NASA Update reviewing the 2011 NASA Region 2 Conference at UNLV, written by Allison Dromgold: "There were many fine performances throughout the weekend, but some really exceptional musicianship stood out in the performances of the PRISM Quartet and Rhonda Taylor...Rhonda Taylor also blew the audience away, performing SPP by Philippe Leroux with flawless technique and incredible control."