Gary Fukushima – Director of Jazz Studies/Piano

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GARY FUKUSHIMA is a pianist, composer, and educator. He is very active as a jazz musician in Los Angeles, California, and he has performed throughout most of the United States for over a decade as a prominent member of the jazz-folk group The Sabella Consort and as a sideman for others including swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, alto saxophonist Mark Taylor and vocalists Rene Olstead, Leona Coakley, Ben Black, Phyllis Chang, and Brettina Robinson.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Gary started formal piano lessons at age eleven, eventually graduating from the University of Washington with degrees in classical piano, jazz studies, and psychology. Upon graduation, he accepted a faculty position with Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA, where he taught jazz piano. In addition to his jazz performances in the Seattle area and abroad, Gary was active in the Pacific Northwest arts community, with performances with the Tacoma Symphony, Choral Arts Northwest, and ArtsWest, and he was the musical director for the first Asian-American production of West Side Story by the Northwest Asian American Theatre.

In 2003 Gary relocated to Southern California to continue graduate studies with David Roitstein, Wadada Leo Smith, and Charlie Haden at California Institute of the Arts. Gary received a Master of Fine Arts degree from CalArts and is now on the faculty at California State University, Northridge. He is also employed by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as a teacher in its educational program “Jazz in the Classroom” sponsored through the Los Angeles Unified School District Beyond the Bell program.

Gary has recorded and performed with many esteemed musicians including Joe La Barbara, Larry Koonse, Jeff Johnson, Roger Cairns, Matt Otto, Darek Oles, Eddie Wakes, Carl Saunders, John Daversa, Kathleen Grace, Dontae Winslow, Abe Lagrimas, Jr., Ben Wendel, Roy McCurdy, and Gary Pratt among others.

Gary currently resides in Eagle Rock, CA with his wife Susan and their beautiful daughter Jesslyn and cat Patty.