Dawn Elder is a unique player on the American media landscape. As a composer, producer, director, artist manager, and creator of over 1000 events spanning a broad spectrum of media, she has worked with some of the top names in entertainment, from American icons Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Beach Boys, Sting, Grover Washington, George Clinton and Carlos Santana, to the most celebrated stars of the African and Arabic-speaking world, among them Fairouz, (Lebanon) Kazem al-Sahir (Iraq) Khaled (Algeria), Mory Kante (Guinea/Mali), and Fela Kuti, and King Sunny Ade (Nigeria). Elder has developed and directed television documentaries and concert broadcast specials for major networks in the U.S. and abroad, including ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and LBC, and ANA/MBC. She has also developed and produced some of the most ambitious cultural festivals and conferences in recent U.S. memory. Behind all of Elder’s enterprises lies a fierce humanitarianism and a dedication to the principle that culture, especially music, has a vital role to play in bridging misunderstandings between contemporary societies.
Born of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean heritage, Elder grew up in San Francisco, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. By the time she received her degrees in Science and Music Education from the University of California, she was fluent in English, French and multiple dialects of Arabic. Today, Elder is owner of Dawn Elder World Media & Entertainment Enterprises, a US-based production and media/entertainment firm. She is also the founder of the world-renowned International Friendship Festivals and Peace Through Music series, which have helped to bridge cultural divides in the United States and abroad. Elder has received numerous honors and awards for her music productions, multicultural events and television broadcast specials.
As a skilled pianist and composer, Elder has always approached production from a musician’s perspective. This is one reason she has succeeded in bringing about ground-breaking collaborations between major artists from East and West, garnering her Grammy nominations and four national awards, and numerous honors for presenting them effectively to American audiences. Highlights from her many recording productions include:
Elder is currently working on new collaborations and recordings with various legendary music icons including Quincy Jones, and international artists including Multi Platinum recording artists Kadim Al Sahir, Cheng Lin, Master of Afghanistan S.A.R A. and British pop rocker and newcomer Jasmin, a.k.a. jAZ.
Elder has managed, represented and organized international tours for some of the most highly regarded international artists today, including U.S. tours for Kazem Al Sahir, Fairouz, The Arab Tenors Sabbah Fahkri & Wadi Al Safi, Khaled, Sting and Cheb Mami, Mory Kante, and Other artists Elder has managed and toured include Amina, Rachid Taha, Faudel, Transglobal Underground , Souad Massi, Hakim, Enzo Avitabile & Bottari, Sabah, Simon Shaheen, Assala, Riffat Sultana & Party, Cheb I Sabbah, King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Woody Harrelson, The Beach Boys, Michael Sembello & the Bridge to name a few.
In 2006, Elder was a keynote speaker at Glocal, a major forum on multiculturalism in urban cities held in Ankara, Turkey. Her speech addressed the realities of human migration, the isolation of diaspora communities, and the growing responsibility for cities around the world to promote multiculturalism in order to advance more vibrant and tolerant societies. At a subsequent workshop, she advised mayors and local community leaders on how to produce everything from festivals and conferences to concerts and photography shows, both to better integrate their local communities and to generate economic activity. Elder knew what she was talking about, for she has a track record of doing exactly that. Among the unique events Elder has conceived, produced, and helped to realize are:
Elder is currently writing and preparing a series of reality television programs for global networks, programs aimed at exploring sensitive issues and promoting mutual understanding between Western and Middle Eastern societies. She is also working on music scores for a series of films and TV specials for American & Middle Eastern Networks to release in 2009-2011. In addition to the televised productions already mentioned, Elder has produced:
RECOGNITION AND AWARDS
Elder has been recognized and honored for her work by former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Governor Pete Wilson, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, among others. She has been nominated for or won over 100 entertainment industry awards including eleven Grammy nominations as a music producer, and awards from The International Music Council, The Tele Awards, and the National Association of Broadcasters.
Elder and her work have been featured on NPR, BBC, ABC, and PRI, as well as numerous international broadcast outlets, and in the pages of national and international dailies including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Billboard and the San Francisco Chronicle. ABC News called her one of the most influential producers of her time in 2006.
Elder is an active member in numerous humanitarian non-profit organizations and is a member of following industry consortiums: APAP(American Performing Arts Association), WOMEX, International World Music Association Pollstar, International Concert Consortium, NARAS (National Academy of Recording Sciences), RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), BMI, Music Cares, North American World Music Coalition, Arab-American Arts Institute, ISAMI (International Sudanese music and Arts institute), and AFTRA (American Federation of Television & Radio Artists).