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Dawn Avery

Dawn Avery has been an artistic member of Alliance for New Music-Theatre since 2015 when she joined the company as co-composer for on-going project Women of Troy: Voices of Afghan Women.  Her recently released CD, Beloved, features a song she co-wrote with lyricist Susan Galbraith, “The Stitching Song” from The Afghan Women’s Project. Beloved was selected for one of the top 10 albums of Spring 2019 by the Global Music Awards, opened at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, and has been aired nationally and internationally.

For the 2019-2020 season, the company seeks to commission Dawn Avery to develop a short opera about Georgia O’Keefe set against her beloved landscape in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

GRAMMY and NAMA nominated musician,  Dawn Avery has worked with musical luminaries Luciano Pavarotti, Sting, John Cale, John Cage, R. Carlos Nakai and Joanne Shenandoah. She's toured around the world playing Delta Blues with the Soldier String Quartet, Persian Funk with Sussan Deyhim, and opera with the New York City Opera Company. 


As a composer, she has collected commissions from Duke University, the Ford Foundation's Indigenous Knowledge, Expressive Culture grant program of the American Composers Forum, Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, American Dance Festival, Washington Flute Association, Eight Strings and a Whistle, NYU, and Meet the Composer, and a current commission from Canada’s Duo Concertante, among others. Ensembles that have premiered her works include EngleWinds, the Covington String Quartet, Manhattan School of Music new music ensemble, ModernWorks and Musicians Accord in NYC, Washington Flute Association, and Eight Strings and a Whistle. 

Dawn has had her works performed at such places as the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the South Dakota Museum of Art, Colorado College, Memorial University in Newfoundland/ Labrador, Toronto, Montreal, Six Nations and Tyendinega Mohawk Territories, Linda Vista Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, Alfred University, the Juilliard School, School for Ethical Culture, Columbia University, Columbia Preparatory School, Hunter College, Harlem School of the Arts, the 92nd Street Y, Merkin Hall, University of Maryland, Montgomery College in Maryland, and the Kennedy Center, as well as in Spain, Italy and Germany.


Dawn has been the recipient of several Global Music Awards.  Her music can be heard on several award-winning films including, “Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding Schools” and “Don’t Get Sick After June: Indian Health Care” (Rich/Heape Films), the Smithsonian’s “Always Becoming” by Nora Naranjo-Morse, “Dos Almas” by Danielle Villegas, “Basquiat” (Miramax Films Independent Spirit Award), “Gallyup” (Center for Court Innovation: Tribal Justice) and “Rohati:io Raising the Word” (Independent Film award by Canadaian film maker Ellingson) and an upcoming PBS film entitled “Warrior Traditions.”


She has been privileged to work with a variety of great composers including John Cage, Charles Wuorinen, Phillip Glass, and Elliot Sharpe. Dawn’s exploration of sacred music led her to study the relationship between music and spirituality.


Devoted to the performance, research and composition of Native Classical Music, Avery served on the national board of the American Composer’s Forum, First Nations Composers Initiative and developed The Native Composer’s Project dedicated to language and music revitalization.  She has toured with the North American Indian Cello Project, premiering contemporary classical works by Native composers.  Avery’s recording of chamber music based on native themes, entitled Tulpe, came out in 2009 and received critical acclaim. Dr. Avery’s dissertation explores Indigenous theory in relation to Contemporary Native Classical composition and is entitled, “NATIVE CLASSICAL: MUSICAL MODERNITIES, INDIGENOUS RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES, AND A KANIENKÉHA (MOHAWK) CONCEPT OF NON:WA (NOW).


Nurturing future generations, Dawn Avery is a professor at Montgomery College where she was selected as United States Professor of the Year in 2011.

Follow Dawn on her website at

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