About Us

Ride Symbol came into being in 2004 when Elfman released Ever Wonder Why by Forrester’s quintet of the time, People Like Us. The artist and the label founder had worked before when the latter directed the jazz department for the international company, Koch Entertainment. There were five recordings including a solo outing co-sponsored by Terry Gross and Fresh Air from National Public Radio (Forrester wrote the theme song for the radio program), three sessions from People Like Us and an historic document of Forrester leading The Illustrious Others in music recorded in 1980. “Joel and creative musicians like him are the inspiration for the new label,” says Elfman. Forrester’s Koch titles as well as new unreleased material will see the light of day. Says Forrester, “I’m grateful to the folks at Ride Symbol for bringing my music into the future.”

Donald Elfman, Managing Director 

Donald Elfman is a music industry executive with more than 20 years of experience helping contemporary artists realize their artistic vision and giving new life to classic recordings. Donald’s strengths include artist relations, publicity and promotion, reviews and liner notes, advertising and marketing, publishing, and production and manufacturing.

Currently, Donald is president of Ride Symbol, an independent music services company and record label he founded in 2004.  Ride Symbol provides the full range of music services to a variety of labels for their new artists and classic reissues. Ride Symbol clients include Enja, Nonesuch, and One Soul Records.  Additionally, Donald provides liner notes for recordings issued by major jazz distributors such as Blue Note, Sony, Telarc, and Verve.  Donald also writes reviews for All About Jazz.

Prior to forming Ride Symbol, Donald created and was Director of the Jazz Division at KOCH Entertainment, an independent music distribution company.  During his tenure, Donald oversaw publicity and promotion for KOCH jazz labels, including Enja, Candid, Justin Time, and Minor Classic, as well as classical labels, including Supraphone, Ondine, MD&G, and KOCH’s own classical labels.  Donald produced more than 100 new recordings by contemporary artists (including Jeanie Bryson, Joel Forrester, Joel Harrison, Philip Johnston, and Ernie Krivada) and classic reissues licensed by major catalogs (including John Handy, Stan Getz, Gary Burton, Coleman Hawkins/Milt Jackson, and Freddie Hubbard).  His responsibilities included artist relations, production, manufacturing, publicity, promotion, marketing, advertising, and publishing.

Earlier, Donald was the Publicity Director and Jazz Manager for Telarc International, a Cleveland-based recording company recognized as a pioneer in the area of digital recording. He worked with Telarc artists Oscar Peterson, Andre Previn, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lionel Hampton.  Additionally, he oversaw efforts for the DMP label, which Telarc was distributing at the time, and worked with Telarc’s classical recordings and artists.

Before that, Donald was Production, Publicity, and Promotions Director for PolyGram Jazz in New York (now Universal).  During his tenure, Donald produced reissues of classic material owned by PolyGram (Verve, Mercury, MGM, 20th Century, and Polydor labels, among others) and worked with artists including Charlie Haden, Shirley Horn, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento, and the Harper Brothers.

Donald began his career as a jazz buyer for Tower Records.

“Donald Elfman took great care of our promotional needs when we were
distributed in the US by KOCH INTERNATIONAL. His knowledge of the music was
always a great help to our catalog and I am glad that he is back on the road
successfully as his recent promotional work for our Charlie Mariano CD

–Matthias Winckelmann/ENJA RECORDS

David Preiser, VP Media and Marketing, CFO

David Preiser has been in the music industry in one form or another for more than twenty years. A musician and composer, he has been involved in music retail, distribution, production, recording, marketing, and sales.