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High School Music

  • UpClose: Marcus Tsutakawa

    Mike Lawson | January 21, 2014

    Great Works and Fun Gigs: Marcus Tsutakawa & The Garfield Orchestra

    As far as public school music programs go, Garfield High School has something pretty special going on. Building on a legacy that stretches from notable alumni like Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix (who was expelled his junior year) to current hip-hop artist Macklemore, this Seattle school music department has garnered more than its fair share of acclaim. In particular, its orchestra and jazz programs stand out, both of which are consistently among the best in their respective genres at top national festivals and competitions.  Marcus Tsutakawa (known as “Mr. Tsut” to his students) has been directing the Garfield Orchestras since 1985. While many might point to the numerous trophies, awards, and accolades that ensembles have garnered under his watch, when asked about his most significant achievements, Tsutakawa is quick to mention the array of fantastic literature he’s been able to share with his students. What it boils down to, for him, is pretty simple: “My goal is to perform often, learn as much new repertoire as possible, and play fun gigs.”

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