The Kennedy Center

Christopher Washburne



Biography

Chris Washburne is one of those rare musicians whose musical activities cross many styles and cultural borders. From early in his career he refused to be pigeon-holed as just being a jazz or classical player, but instead has continually pursued a diverse path. He has received rave reviews for his jazz and classical performances as well as being called "one of the best trombonists in New York" by The New York Times. Brad Walseth of JazzChicago.net writes that Chris "is one of the most intelligent and interesting thinkers in modern music, as well as being perhaps the most important trombonist performing today" (2006).

Chris has toured extensively with various groups and concertized throughout the Europe, North, South, and Central Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. He has commissioned and premiered over twenty contemporary compositions for trombone and has performed on over 150 recordings, 17 of which have won Grammy's. His Latin jazz group, SYOTOS, is the busiest and most in demand Latin jazz group in New York, performing over 125 concerts annually, including regular performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and BAM. Their release "Paradise In Trouble" on Jazzheads Records, was nominated as the best Latin jazz record of 2004 by the Jazz Journalists Association. He is a co-leader of NYNDK, a trans-Atlantic jazz collective comprised of European and American musicians. This group was awarded the prestigious DaNY Arts Grant in 2007, a grant sponsored by the Danish Cultural Ministry for jazz composition.

He has performed and recorded with Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ruben Blades, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, David Byrne, Justin Timberlake, Bjork, Roscoe Mitchell, Grady Tate, Jaki Byard, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Danilo Caymmi, Daniel Ponce, Ran Blake, Arturo Sandoval, Hilton Ruíz, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, Roswell Rudd, Walter Thompson, Eddie Henderson, Anthony Braxton, John Cale, Baba Olatunje, Candido, Freddie Cole, Maria Schneider Big Band, Chico O'Farrill, The Barrio Boyz, Oscar D'Leon, Louie Ramírez, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Brian Lynch, Leslie Uggams, Dicapo Opera Company, Bang on a Can All-stars, and the Dinosaur Annex under the direction of Gunther Schuller, among many others. He is currently freelancing as a studio musician and performing trombone, bass trombone, tuba, didjeridu, and percussion with various classical, jazz, and Latin groups in New York City.

He has commissioned and premiered over twenty contemporary compositions for trombone. His own compositions can be heard on the four of the SYOTOS releases and the two NYNDK recordings, both on Jazzheads Records, Bobby Sanabria's Grammy nominated Big Band record "Live and in Clave," the BAQ's debut CD "The Fax" and Ray Vega's self-titled CD.

He received his Bachelors of Music degree in classical trombone performance from the University of Wisconsin where he studied with William Richardson, Richard Davis, and Les Thimmeg. In 1988 he completed a Masters degree from the New England Conservatory in Third Stream Studies where he studied with John Swallow, Ran Blake, and Bob Moses. He was the winner of the 1988 New England Conservatory Graduation Concerto Competition. In 1985 he spent two months living in Zambia studying the traditional music of that region. In 1993 he received a Mellon Fellowship to travel to and explore the rich musical traditions of Cuba. In 1996 he received a Sinfonia Foundation grant to assist in the research for his dissertation. In 1999 he received his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University.

Chris is currently an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Columbia University and the founder and Director of Columbia's Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program. He was a visiting professor of music at Harvard in 2005. His academic work includes the publication of numerous articles on jazz, Latin jazz, and salsa, and his book New York Salsa will be published in 2007 by Temple University Press. He is the co-editor of a volume entitled Bad Music on Routledge Press (2004). Chris Washburne is one of those rare musicians whose musical activities cross many styles and cultural borders. From early in his career he refused to be pigeon-holed as just being a jazz or classical player, but instead has continually pursued a diverse path. Chris is currently freelancing as a studio musician and performing trombone, bass trombone, tuba, didjeridu, and percussion with various classical, jazz, rock, and Latin groups in New York City. He also tours extensively with various groups and has concertized throughout the North America, Europe, Asian, Africa, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Christopher Washburne