Skip to main content

Conductor, Scholar, & Performer

Dr. Heather MacLaughlin Garbes

Heather MacLaughlin Garbes is currently Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, where she helped develop and maintains the UW Baltic Choral Library, the first collection of its kind in the United States. She is also Founder and Artistic Director of the Mägi Ensemble, a women’s ensemble that performs and records Baltic music.

Dr. MacLaughlin Garbes has presented at ACDA National, ACDA Divisional, College Music Society’s National and International conferences, the Library of Congress and the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies conferences. She co-authored the chapter “Baltic Languages: Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian” in the book The Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet in the Choral Rehearsal (Scarecrow Press).

She has conducted numerous collegiate and community ensembles in the Seattle, Chicago, and Houston areas and currently conducts the Finnish Choral Society of Seattle as well as works with the Eesti Koor (Estonian) and Vakarai Lithuanian choirs in Seattle.

Heather has a great love for musical theatre and has been the music director for over 100 productions. She regularly works at Youth Theatre Northwest as well as many high schools in the Seattle area. Heather enjoys the process of teaching the music to the students as well as preparing the orchestra and conducting the performances.

She even gets to sometimes play violin or reeds (saxophone, flute and clarinet) and is now learning more about the advancing technology of click tracks and sound effects.

Dr. MacLaughlin Garbes holds a Bachelor of Music Education (Choral, Instrumental and General Music) from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She continued her education at the University of Washington and received a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting. Dr. MacLaughlin Garbes has also studied Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian languages to further her research and regularly helps choirs with language translation and pronunciation.

Along with music and research, Heather loves to travel and has been to as many countries as she is years old. She also spends time curling with her husband, Peter as Team Birdsong and also enjoys running and cooking with the lovely fresh vegetables from the local farms.

Heather has a great love for musical theatre and has been the music director for over 100 productions.