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Copyright © 2003
Garrett Michaelsen

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Garrett Michaelsen is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and, after a four year interlude in Rochester, NY, currently resides in the North Bay. Interested in music at an early age, he eventually gravitated towards the trumpet, though he has moderate piano proficiency. Music did not become the major focus in his life until age 13 at which point he began working with three teachers who would change his life. Mark Peabody, Garrett's high school band director, taught him to love music and to love teaching music. Joe Alessi Sr. was his private classical trumpet teacher for four years and instilled a respect for the basic mechanics of playing the instrument. Matthew Goodheart, a pianist/composer, taught him everything else about music, from theory to improvisation to history. In addition to learning a great deal from him, Matthew is also responsible for introducing Garrett to the field of creative improvised music. This interest led to a performance in San Francisco with a conduction (conducted improvising) group including Matthew and Garrett and directed by the alto saxophonist Marco Eneidi. Garrett had the good fortune of seeing many great improvisers such as Glenn Spearman, Marco Eneidi, Matthew Goodheart, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, William Parker, and Dewey Redman while growing up.


Garrett completed undergraduate studies at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester in May of 2002. He now holds two bachelor's degrees, one with a major in jazz performance from Eastman and the other in English from the University of Rochester. Honors he received on graduating include induction into Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, distinction earned in both majors, and inclusion on the Dean’s List every semester of his undergraduate years. During his four years at Eastman, Garrett had the good fortune to study with Ralph Alessi (son of his former teacher Joe Alessi Sr.), Clay Jenkins, Harold Danko, Fred Sturm, and Tim Hagans, among others. In addition, he has had the opportunity to play with Ben Monder, Joey Baron, Kenny Wheeler, John Clayton, and more. During his junior year he performed with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble, a group that was highlighted at the National IAJE Convention in New York that year. The ensemble was awarded the Co-Best College Big Band Award from Down Beat Magazine. He was also a featured soloist with the Eastman Studio Orchestra. His crowning achievement in jazz, however, was when Lee Konitz told Garrett that he would rather leave the room than listen to him play "out". In addition to learning about jazz, Garrett has been actively soaking up everything Eastman has to offer, especially in the realm of 20th and 21st century contemporary concert music. This has greatly influenced his compositional style.


Since returning from the frigid East, Garrett teaches part-time at Novato High School and its new arts magnet academy, the Marin School of the Arts. Mark Peabody, Garrett’s former high school music teacher, is the director of the Marin School of the Arts and enlisted Garrett’s help in developing the new program and its curriculum. Over the last three years at the school he has taught a wide variety of classes: intermediate and advanced jazz bands, symphonic band, wind ensemble, chamber music, choir, theory, and ear training. Groups under Garrett’s direction have received top “unanimous superior” ratings at music festivals for the past two consecutive years. Students from his theory and ear training classes have passed out of semesters of college theory and received scores of 3 and 5 on the AP music theory exam. Garrett will receive his music single subject teaching credential from Sonoma State University in December 2005. In addition to high school teaching, Garrett has an active and large private teaching studio. Averaging around fifteen students, Garrett teaches a wide range of levels and interests. He teaches advanced classical trumpet students, complete beginners on trumpet and piano, theory students, jazz students, and many intermediate level trumpet and piano students.


As well as teaching, Garrett is active as a performer on trumpet. He has performed on many occasions with the College of Marin Orchestra and Choir, playing music by Copland, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, and more. Garrett has performed with a group of contemporary chamber music players, performing David Sampson’s piece Passage in early 2003 with violist Felicia McFall. Occasionally he performs with the Mountain Play pit orchestra for productions of musicals on the top of Mount Tamalpais; he has performed for their productions of Annie and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Additionally, Garrett is a member of the well-known Marin county-based jazz big band, the Starduster Orchestra. This group performs frequently throughout the Bay Area for private functions, weddings, and a number of public events such as Sausalito’s Jazz and Blues by the Bay concert series and numerous street festivals in the summer. Garrett also frequently performs with the Harold Jones Big Band, a group of top Bay Area musicians under the leadership of Harold Jones, a drummer who was a long time member of Count Basie’s orchestra and has performed extensively with Sarah Vaughaun, Ella Fitzgerald, and Tony Bennett.