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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.
Chris received his Bachelors of Music 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. He spent two months living in Zambia in 1985, studying the traditional music of that region, and in 1993, received a Mellon Fellowship to travel to and explore the rich musical traditions of Cuba.
In 1999 he completed his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. He is currently Associate Professor of Music and Found Director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program at Columbia University in New York. He has published numerous articles on jazz, Latin jazz, and salsa. He is author of the book Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York (2008) and editor of the book Bad Music (2004).
He has performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Justin Timberlake, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Marc Anthony, Celine Dion, Anthony Braxton, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the Bang On A Can All-stars, David Byrne, Bjork, Muhal Richard Abrams, Gloria Estefan, They Might Be Giants, Chico OFarrill, Don Richols, John Cale, Grady Tate, Baba Olatunje, Leslie Uggams, the Smithereens, Ray Barretto, Roscoe Mitchell, Jackie Byard, Danilo Caymmi, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito DRivera, Dinosaur Annex directed under Gunther Schuller, Walter Thompson, the SEM Ensemble, Freddie Cole, Lawrence Butch Morris, among many others.
He leads his own highly acclaimed groups SYOTOS and NYNDK and is a member of FFEAR (Forum for Electo-Acoustic Research).