Music Works Northwest Welcomes New Executive Director Dr. Tigran Arakelyan

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Dr. Arakelyan brings 17 years of music and administrative experience to the organization.

The Board of Directors of Music Works NW is pleased to announce that Dr. Tigran Arakelyan has been named as Executive Director, replacing retiring Executive Director Karen Nestvold. Music Works NW is a non-profit community music school located in Bellevue, WA that is dedicated to providing accessible music education and experiences to children of all ages. Dr. Arakelyan began his position on July 1, 2022.

“We are thrilled to bring Tigran to Music Works NW as Executive Director,” noted Pradnya Desh, Music Works Board Chair. “He is a consummate musician that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our music community. The board is excited to have someone with Tigran’s experience and skills to lead the next chapter for Music Works.”

As one of the largest non-profit arts organizations on the Eastside, Music Works provides in-person individual, group and online music lessons for voice and 21 instruments from their Bellevue campus. Music Works was founded in 1966 in Seattle and relocated to Bellevue in 1999. The organization’s faculty is comprised of a wide range of musicians who perform with the Tacoma Symphony, the Seattle Opera, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and other area ensembles. All have advanced music degrees, and 65% hold graduate degrees.

Dr. Arakelyan has worked with musicians of all ages as an orchestra conductor, music director, educator, radio host and podcaster. Most recently he was Artistic Director and Conductor of the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra and Musical Director of the Northwest Mahler Festival.

“I am very excited and honored to be named as the new Executive Director of Music Works explained Dr. Arakelyan. “We have a wonderful facility and strive to give our students an opportunity to explore the fusion of music and their non-musical interests. I am deeply committed to Music Works’ mission and am thrilled to lead Music Works in its next phase of growth as we expand our music program with exciting new class and camp offerings.” Prior to his new role with Music Works, Dr. Arakelyan was the classical program coordinator for five years.

Community leadership has been a hallmark of Dr. Arakelyan’s career, having previously served as Music Director and Conductor of the Federal Way Youth Symphony Orchestra and Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the California Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as performing numerous guest conducting engagements around the world. Dr. Arakeylan explained, “In an effort to reach more of our community, we will expand our faculty and student performances to more community spaces around Bellevue. We will also increase our class and camp offerings into new genres and will provide more classes in the morning and early afternoon.”

Retiring Executive Director Karen Nestvold has been a highly valued member of the with Music Works NW organization for 23 years in various capacities, including as a much in demand voice teacher, as Development Director and finally as Executive Director for the past six years. In summing up her tenure as Executive Director Ms. Nestvold said, “Music Works Northwest is an outstanding organization, filled with passionate faculty, students, staff and volunteers, who are all dedicated to building a world filled with music. It has been an enormous honor to be a part of this organization.”

Ms. Nestvold is not only credited with helping Music Works NW successfully navigate the pandemic, but worked diligently with the board, staff and faculty to position the organization to thrive in the post lock down environment. She added, “I have witnessed the transformative power of music education and music therapy and look forward to remaining on the voice faculty to support Music Works as it moves out of the pandemic and into the future. The Music Works Board has made a superb choice with the appointment of Tigran Arakelyan as Executive Director. I'm very excited for the future of this amazing organization."

About Music Works
Music Works Northwest is a nonprofit community music school, dedicated to changing lives through accessible music education and experiences. Founded in 1966 in Seattle’s Central District as the Imperials Drum and Bugle Corp, Music Works relocated to Bellevue in 1999. Each year Music Works provides individual music lessons, music classes, music therapy, summer camps and free concerts to thousands of King County residents. Music Works students excel in their school music programs, winning WMEA recognition and regularly participating in award-winning area ensembles such as the Bellevue Youth Symphony, the Seattle Youth Symphony and Youth Theater Northwest.

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