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Dawn Avery

Mohawk composer, cellist, vocalist, educator, and Grammy-nominated performer Dawn Avery has worked with musical luminaries from Luciano Pavarotti to Sting. She spent years honing her musical talents, collaborating, and performing in all genres of music and working with John Cale, John Cage, Sussan Deyhim, Ustad Sultan Kahn, Mischa Maisky, R. Carlos Nakai, and Joanne Shenandoah. Dawn Avery has performed at the Montreux, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Banlieu Bleu jazz festivals in Europe. She’s played uptown at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, as well as in New York’s thriving downtown music stages like the Knitting Factory and La Mama.  Recently establishing herself in the D.C. metropolitan area, Dawn Avery has performed at the Kennedy Center and this is her third season as part of the Smithsonian’s Classical Native Program. She specializes in the performance of contemporary Native American music with her own ensemble OKENTI and as a soloist as part of the NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN CELLO PROJECT.  As an educator, she helps to nurture future generations of musicians as Professor of Music at Montgomery College, where she has produced an annual World Arts Festival now in its seventh year. Her compositions span from orchestral to chamber. She has collected awards for her works from the American Dance Festival at Duke University, New York University, Meet the Composer, the Maryland Flute Association and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County in Maryland, the Ford Foundation, and the First Nations Composer Initiative, which is part of the American Composers Forum. Her music can be heard on a new film released by Rich Heape Films, entitled Our Spirits Don't Speak English: Indian Boarding Schools, which was selected as the feature film at this year’s NAMA (Native American Music Awards). Dawn Avery was recently elected to the board of the national organization American Composers Forum -- First Nations Composer Initiative.  She is currently a doctoral student in the ethnomusicology department at the University of Maryland.”                           

(Virginia Prescott, NPR radio host/ producer)


For more information about Professor Avery, please visit her website at

Montgomery College

Montgomery County, MD


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