Gary's musical and cultural explorations have taken him across this land and around the globe, as a composer, ethnomusicologist, international recording artist, performer and educator. Gary's performances and presentations transport the audience across time and vast distances, as he shares songs and stories from his journey.
Although he is best known for his playing of traditional American Indian flutes, Gary also performs on Altus Alto silver flute, contemporary clay aerophones, and Chinese bamboo Xiao and Dize flutes that are seldom heard outside of China. His repertoire is deeply respectful of ethnic cultures, and their reverence for the Earth.
Influenced by American Jazz, Afro Cuban and Native American styles, his multimedia performances of original compositions and traditional music weave delicate melodies into a global landscape with improvisation, world percussion and the sounds of nature. Gary's music comes from the heart, his travels, and friendships made along the way.
Gary's work was showcased in the Ken Burns PBS documentary “Lewis and Clark: Journey of the Corps of Discovery” which led to a command performance at the White House for President Bill Clinton in 1997. Gary's music has also been featured on the PRI syndicated program “Echoes”, NPR's “Evening at the Pops”, and KUOW's “The Beat” and “Hearts of Space”.
He has recorded and produced over 12 sound recordings, many receiving national acclaim for being benchmark recordings of American Indian based music. Two of Gary’s recordings, Hidden World on Narada records, and Pacific Moon on Paras records, were Billboard's Critic’s Choice. His three Makoche recordings The Elders Speak, Winds of Honor, and People of the Willows highlight Gary’s unique connection with the American Indian people and their traditions, and his ability to compose American Indian traditional flute music. Gary’s CD Echoes of Canyon de Chelly was recorded in the echo chamber of the canyon itself, bringing to life ancestral spirits through traditional American Indian songs. This CD was recorded with American Indian flutes that were made by his good friend, Paul Thompson, who is also an outstanding musician and craftsman of Navajo flutes. Gary has expanded his world music reach through the CD Oru -The Natural Order which was an exploration of mystical Nigerian religious chants. Collectively, Gary’s music demonstrates his unique and innovative flute voice, and his commitment to share world music that honors the divine in nature.
Although Gary does most of his composing alone, usually "outside, with the wind", he loves to study and collaborate with many of today's important musical influences. His work with American Indian flute maker and player, Paul Thompson, has been particularly rewarding. The latest CD release, Quiet Fire, marks the first meeting of 3 remarkable artists: Gary Stroutsos, William Eaton and Will Clipman, each distinguished for their role in shaping contemporary World Music.
To Gary, “Music creates unity among peoples and touches our souls. Music is a universal means of communication. In my performances I want the listener to hear the land, or a river move through them.”
Gary Stroutsos is of Greek/Italian descent, and lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.