Marcus Tsutakawa


Photo by Tom Wolken

Marcus Tsutakawa has been an instrumental music teacher in the Seattle Public Schools since 1979. He became director of the Garfield Orchestras in 1985 and has since led the orchestra to many honors and awards and on several tours.

The son of Northwest Artist George Tsutakawa, Tsutakawa was born and raised in Seattle.  He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Washington in Music Composition and Music Education respectively.

Among his many honors for contributions to music education:

1996 Prix de Martell award, from Martell Cognac, Int'l, recognizing "Champions of Classical Music."
1996 & 2006 Participant in the Follow the Leader Program sponsored by The Bon Marche, Seattle Times, and KING 5, featuring 25 outstanding leaders.
2002 A&E Network Biography Community Hero.
2005 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence.
2006 KSTW Class Act Teacher.
2007 University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award (one of four). The selection committee noted:
Marcus Tsutakawa's career as an artist and educator reflects a commitment to excellence, as well as his family's multigenerational commitment to community and active citizenship. In his work as Director of both the national-award-winning Garfield High School Orchestra and the Roosevelt Chamber Orchestra, "Tsut's" impact on students reaches beyond the practice room and concert stage. As a former student, now an orchestra director, phrased it, "...Using classical music, we not only learned how to become musicians but ultimately to be better citizens...Through music he taught us how to work with other people, to really see how a whole is greater tha