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2024 Yamaha "40 Under 40" educator Dr. Tigran Arakelyan

Dr. Tigran Arakelyan

Music Director,
Tacoma Music Collaborative
Executive Director, Music Works Northwest

Providing access to music education is the driving force behind Dr. Tigran Arakelyan’s work at the Tacoma Music Collaborative (previously called the Orchestral Recital Series of Tacoma). As the Music Director, he has developed and continued programs that give students of all ages an opportunity to play chamber music with professionals and perform as soloists with a chamber orchestra. TMC provides an inclusive environment for students to learn and grow alongside more experienced musicians and professionals. TMC’s private lesson initiative offers additional support to young musicians who do not have the financial resources to develop their skills in a private lesson setting. Its public school outreach program helps music educators with sectionals led by guest clinicians. 

Arakelyan also started the BIPOC composer commission, which focuses on works for piano and orchestra. “We alternate between commissioning a professional composer and a young composer at the start of their career,” he explains. All these initiatives are in the early stages, and more funding is needed for continued growth.

He is also the Executive Director of Music Works Northwest, a nonprofit community music school that provides accessible music education and experiences. In addition to providing individual music lessons, music classes, music camps and free concerts to King County residents, Music Works offers music therapy, the first organization to do so in the state of Washington. The goal of the program is to address the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of people of all ages within the context of a therapeutic relationship.

According to the organization’s website, “We specialize in working with children and teens who identify as neurodivergent or disabled. Treatment goals and interventions are individualized and centered around the strengths, interests and needs of the client. Singing, vocalizing, playing instruments, movement to music are among the long list of ways that our music therapists work with their young clients.”

Arakelyan acknowledges the good work of both the Tacoma Music Collaborative and Music Works Northwest. “These two special organizations provide educational opportunities and bring people together, which provides a platform for many interesting collaborative opportunities for all the people we serve.”