Dawn C. Culbertson (1951-2004) was a composer, performer, writer, and overnight host of a classical music radio program in Baltimore. A self-proclaimed misfit, Culbertson dabbled in unconventional music genres.
A Baltimore native, Culbertson was a 1969 graduate of Towson High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Towson University. Culbertson played the lute and recorder, sang, and earned her master's in music composition from the Peabody Conservatory in 1981.
Culbertson was very involved with the community, singing in the choirs of Grace and St. Peter's and the old Christ Episcopal churches. She was also a soloist at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Old St. Paul's Episcopal, Old Otterbein United Methodist churches, and the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
For over ten years Culbertson was an overnight disc jockey and music librarian at the former Johns Hopkins University station WJHU-FM. There, she had a 4 a.m. program called Exploring Early Music. She was passionate about early Renaissance music, studying and performing the genre regularly. Culbertson was a classically trained lutenist but also shifted gears to play “punk lute,” performing popular music as her alter ego, Evil Pappy Twin.
Culbertson regularly performed at local Baltimore restaurants and in 1993 founded the Baltimore Composers Forum, a group that showcased local music compositions. She also founded the Vox Asylum, a group of singers who performed anti-war music from a variety of time periods.
In addition, Culbertson played electric bass in a big band, was a caller for English country dancing, did work as a music critic, and was a member of the National Organization for Women.