Katie Mazzari, Director of Community Programs
Describe what you do in your current position: It’s my job to make TBMS music accessible to our wonderful community! I build and oversee all of our public and free/subsidized programs, whether they take place here at the school (the Saturday Music Project, Artist Series Concerts, Cross-Legged Concert Series, student recitals, master classes and workshops) or out in our community (our public school partnerships, senior center programs, and community performances). I’m pretty sure I have the most fun job at TBMS.
How long have you worked for Turtle Bay? How long in your current position? I started at Turtle Bay in 2008, and took over my current position in the Fall of 2010.
Describe other work experience or education: After graduating from American University with a degree in Arts and Cultural Management, I interned with the Youth and Family Programs department (now known as Performances for Young Audiences) and the American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center, where I was very lucky to learn from extremely talented artists and administrators. I then spent a few years managing a D.C.-area live music venue (which was a ton of fun!) before becoming the Administrator for the James Renwick Alliance at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. There I coordinated all of the JRA’s worldwide arts education programs and managed their membership and special events.
In between these positions, I’ve had a few unusual work experiences, including being the voice of medical training dummies during live crisis simulations, with such hits as “Ouch” and “I’m dizzy!.” But my best work experience is definitely the job I have now.
Have you previously or do you now hold other positions at TBMS? Like a lot of other staff members, I started out as the Registrar, which makes me an expert on color-coded spreadsheets.
What is your favorite thing about Turtle Bay Music School? The people! Every day we come to work in a place where people are having fun, exploring their musical interests, and sharing their talents with each other. It’s such a great atmosphere!
What is your favorite Turtle Bay memory and/or event? So far? Perform-A-Thon 2013 was the first time students from several of our public school programs came to the Em Lee Concert Hall to perform for each other. The kids were REALLY excited, but I think I was the MOST excited. It was so great to see the pride the students had in their performances, and we’ve been working to build more of these collaborative opportunities ever since!
Do you play any instruments? Describe any musical background you may want to share! In addition to being a TBMS staff member, I have also been a student! I have studied both voice and cello at TBMS, and they were some of the most valuable and fun learning experiences I’ve had. Our faculty is made up of the most patient, kind, awesome musicians around. I can’t believe I get to work with such talented people every day.
What is your favorite song and/or piece of music? I think the best way to answer such a crazy question is to say that I still fondly and vividly remember the first time I heard: Santo and Johnny’s “Sleepwalk,” Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line,” Jovanotti’s “L’Ombelico del Mondo,” Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, Nick Drake’s “Cello Song,” David Bowie’s “Five Years,” and Cibo Matto’s “Sci-Fi Wasabi.” This collection would unfortunately make a terrible mixtape.
Who is your favorite composer/songwriter? In my particular position, I get to work with some amazing contemporary composers through our partnership with Exploring the Metropolis, in our own Artist Series Concerts (many of our faculty members are also exceptional composers), and in the Cross-Legged Concert Series. I couldn’t possibly pick one because they are all fantastic and unique, but I think everyone should check out our calendar and come see them all!
Where are you from? I’m a native New Yorker.
Favorite color: Orange and of course Turtle Green.
Favorite food: I really appreciate a well-made sandwich, eggplant in all its incarnations, good dumplings, and pickles of all kinds.
Pets? Kids? Family members? I have one pet – a Russian desert tortoise named Sooka. She is exceedingly ornery most of the time, but I find it endearing. She does not, however, find anything I do endearing. I also have a large Italian-American family, and you can see many of them when my dad takes the TBMS stage during Perform-A-Thon!
Any other fun facts you’d like to include! As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said a Roller-Skating Artist. While I never quite worked out the logistics of that (Do I paint while roller-skating? Or is it with the skates themselves? Maybe there’s choreography?), I’m pretty sure working at TBMS is better than that idea ever could have turned out.