JOANNA MEDAWAR NACHEF, is recognized as the first woman conductor from the Middle East. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, she moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Dr. Nachef is Director of Choral Activities at El Camino College. She earned her Bachelor in Music in piano performance from CSUDH, her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master in Music degrees in Choral Music from the University of Southern California. Dr. Nachef is also on the faculty of California State University Dominguez Hills, California Academy of Mathematics and Science, Artistic Director for Los Cancioñeros Master Chorale, and choir director at Peninsula Community Church. Dr. Nachef is featured in 1996 Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 2009 American Women, 2010 Who’s Who in the World, and 2012 WHO IS SHE, Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, Lebanese American University. She received the 2005 “Excellence in Arts Award” in Music, and the 2008 Daily Breeze Director’s Award “Making a Difference”.
Dr. Nachef has directed both locally and in guest appearances in motion pictures, and toured Nationally and Internationally with her performing groups. She gave her conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 2005 and returned in 2007, with the Ambassador’s of Harmony. In May 2010, April 2013 and May 2015 she conducted three historic performances at Carnegie Hall with choirs from Lebanon, Dubai and Los Angeles. She is speaker and “Citizen Diplomat” for the US State Department with the “Global Education Through Technology” project, a charter board member and president for the LA/Beirut Sister City Organization and alumnae of the U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C. In Summer of 2009, Dr. Nachef gave her debut in Lebanon at Al Bustan Festival, was 2010 “Living Legend” for the African Diaspora of Sacred Music and Musicians, received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Lebanese Ladies Cultural Society, the 2013 National Americanism Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution, El Redondo Regent, the 2014 “Excellence in Arts Award” with her community chorus and the 2014 Mercury Award for creative programming. In December 2013, she gave her conducting debut as the first female conductor in the Arab Region., with “Beirut Chants Festival” in Beirut, Lebanon, and in 2014 conducted the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra with a concert of Beethoven and Mozart. Her most recent awards include the Daughters of The American Revolution 2015 State Americanism Medal, the California Ladies Organization “Distinguished 2015 Mother of the Year Award” and the El Camino College 2015 “Distinguished Faculty Award”