Born in Seattle, Washington, Tsutakawa attended Franklin High School (Seattle, Washington), a rival of Garfield High School. He began his teaching career as a Japanese teacher, but became the Garfield Orchestra director in 1985. Tsutakawa is known to many by the nickname 'Tsut'.
Over the years, he has worked very closely with the award winning Jazz Band Director Clarence Acox to create one of the best high school music programs in the world. In fact, the Garfield Symphony Orchestra won the "Best Orchestra" Award from the Down Beat Magazine in both 1999 and 2007.
In addition to his duties at Garfield, Tsutakwawa is also involved with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, which have toured in Europe, Asia and the United States. In 1992, Tsutakawa received the Prix de Martell award, from Martell Cognac, Int'l, recognizing "Champions of Classical Music" (other recipients include Gerard Schwarz, Sir Georg Solti, and others).
Marcus Tsutakawa is the youngest of four children of George and Ayame Tsutakawa. He has two daughters.
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