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Garo Tavitjan

Garo Tavitjan is an international music artist and award-winning drummer, composer, arranger and producer. Over the past 25 years, Garo has performed over 500 large concert performances of his own in the countries of Europe, England, Asia, United States and the Balkans. World renowned critics from the magazines Jazz Times, All About Jazz, Concerto, New York Spectator, Guardian, Daily News, and Jazz Corner highly evaluate his music and performance. Garo's musical expression is a unique blend of several musical genres combined with the expressive elements of jazz. His musical beginnings are linked with his legendary father, a rock icon who is the founder and most influential ambassador of the Balkan & Macedonian modern irregular rhythms.

Garo received a scholarship from Berklee in 2001 and at the Wolfgang Jazz Academy in Germany in 2002 and studied elementary and music in high school in Skopje (Macedonian jazz scene is developed in the world because of the amazing jazz musicians in the country also known in the world scene). Garo received many awards as a percussionist, drummer and producer. He made the first Macedonian hand made snare drum (from Macedonian woods) with GS Handcraft and created the first drum clinic in Macedonia.

In 1996, Garo became a member of the established jazz/fusion/etno band called Paramecium, in which they recorded several albums and performed more than 100 large concert performances.  His first big concert performance was at age of 12 in 1994 at the Kursumli  An in Skopje, before that he was playing recitals in (early 90's) the elementary music school and other schools as well with choir and the school band. After a long period of various performances and collaborations, Garo Tavitjan officially continued his work in 2002 with his brothers under the name Tavitjan Brothers. The same year, they won the international competition of the Sony Jazz in London. In 2006, Garo received an award for the Best Jazz Album for the first time in Macedonian history, and in 2008 an award for Concert of the Year for his concert at the Universal Hall in Skopje. This is also the first sold out and award-winning jazz concert in the history of his country. 

He received also award in 2022 for the best jazz collaborations including world renown Grammy winning artist such as Mike Stern, Frank Gambale, Oz Noy, Eric Marienthal, Dave Weckl, Fernando Saunders, Rhani Krija, Diran Tavitjan, Morris Pleasure, Clivia Tanisi etc. 

With his band, Garo is the first Balkan jazz band to ever visit so many countries and world known festivals and sold-out concert halls.  The same band won the Sony Jazz International competition and released music for the same label. Over the years, Garo has recorded over 25 albums and appeared on more than 100 albums (over 1 million records sold overall). Garo is known for inventing his unique Balkan rhythms and polymetric approach (with ostinato) which brought him to worldwide clinics and making a historical drum album (2008) named Macedonian Rhythms & Improvisations (with irregular time signature), reviewed with 5 stars in Concerto magazine.

Garo has collaborated with world renowned artists like Mike Stern (Miles Davis), Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea Elektric band), Rhani Krija (Sting), Oz Noy, Dave Weckl, Morris Pleasure (Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire), Clivia Tanisi, the legendary Grammy-nominated vocal Roseanna Vitro, Jazz Ambassadors (founded by Miles Davis and D. Gillespie), Fernando Saunders (Lou Reed), The Hollywood star Rade Serbedzija (Mission Impossible, Lord of the Rings), John Marshall, James East and many others.  He has shared the stage with artists such as Joe Zawinul, Gary Burton, Branford Marsalis, Raul Midon, Erik Trufaz, The Blues Brothers, Gato Barbieri, Phillip Catherine, Antonio Sanchez and others. As a jazz/fusion marketing inventor, Garo believed in ideology that avant-garde music should be broadcasted in mainstream media, and he appeared on more than 250 TV interviews and 200 magazines worldwide. He became Ford cars’ brand ambassador which makes him the first drummer in its history. 

In his potent concert agenda, Garo has sold out concerts with the Tavitjan brothers at the world`s most prestigious venues, such as the legendary Blue Note (2 concerts sold in NYC) and the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York (as the only jazz musician from the Balkans to ever achieve that with his brother Diran), Nublu (NY), Hot House (Germany), Drummer’s Collective, the concert hall Aram Khachaturian in Armenia, the Jazz Festival in London, the Symphony Halls in Sofia, Armenia, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Norway, Sava Center in Belgrade, Cankarjev Dom in Slovenia, as well as numerous concerts in Germany, England, Switzerland, Norway, France, Italy, Brazil, Ireland, Denmark, Russia, Romania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Serbia, Poland, Albania, Greece and other countries of EU.

Garo appeared in the world's No.1 drum magazine Modern Drummer and Drum Talk TV (USA), and also signed for the Mezzo label, Croatia Records, City Records, Alliance records, Vertical Jazz Records, etc.

Garo is also established as an award-winning composer/producer/arranger, who collaborated  also with theatres and with high profile Balkan and world stars such as the Hollywood actor/singer Rade Serbedzija, Goran Bregovic, Zeljko Bebek (Bijelo Dugme), Josipa Lisac, Teresa Kesovija, Oliver Dragojevic, Aki Rahimovski (Parni Valjak), Oliver Mandic, Nina Badric, Massimo Savic, Zeljko Joksimovic, Goran Karan, Jelena Tomasevic, Sergej Cetkovic, Sead Lipovaca, Esma Redzepova and many others. He’s written over 400 compositions, productions and arrangements.

With his brother, Garo has two #1 best-selling albums (200,000 CDs) of the decade in consecutive periods from 2008 to 2014, and performed the largest concert in history held at the Skopje stadium in front of more than 70,000 people. He performed at the same sold-out stadium three times.

In 2014, Garo created the Tavitjan Play Classics project with Diran, where their focus is on the most famous compositions by great classical composers such as Bach, Mozart and Chopin, combining them with modern musical styles, irregular rhythms, rich harmonic solutions and virtuosic improvisations in new arrangements. In addition to the piano trio, they later developed the same project for a large symphony and small ensemble orchestra, followed by a tour across Europe.

Garo also is endorser of Zildjian and Vic Firth company (drumstick with signature).

Garo received the title “European Ambassador of Jazz in Armenia” from the Yerevan government and received a golden plate in Mezzo’s Hall of Fame, along with celebrities Charles Aznavour, Alain Delon, Dmitry Hvorostovsky, Krzyztof Penderecki, Evgeny Kissin, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Flavio Briatore, and Derek Sherinian, to name a few.