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 has performed with Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Mark Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Celia Cruz, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ruben Blades, Roscoe Mitchell, Grady Tate, Jaki Byard, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Danilo Caymmi, Daniel Ponce, Ran Blake, Arturo Sandoval, Hilton Ru?z, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, Anthony Braxton, John Cale, Baba Olatunje, Candido, Freddie Cole, Leslie Uggams, Maria Schneider Big Band, Chico O'Farrill Dicapo Opera Company, Bang on a Can All- stars, American Microtonal Festival Chamber Orchestra, RMM Allstar Salsa Band, Regis Philbin, and the Dinosaur Annex under the direction of Gunther Schuller. He is a regular performing member with the Boston Art Quartet, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, SEM Ensemble, Sun Spits Cherries, Walter Thompson Big Band, Marie McAuliffe's Ark Sextet, Dadadah, The Last of the International Playboy's, and leader of S.Y.O.T.O.S., a Latin jazz group that features his original compositions.
He can be heard on the SYOTOS releases, 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, all of which feature his original compositions and where he has received rave reviews. He also can be heard on the recordings of David Byrne, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, The Barrio Boyz, Oscar D'Leon, Louie Ram?rez, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Bang on A Can Allstars, Brian Lynch, Orlando Watusi y su cartel de la salsa, Nerissa, Raulin Rosendo, Danny Rojo, Yorman D'Leon, among many others.
He 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. 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. His dissertation "New York Salsa" will be published as a book by Temple University Press in 2002. He has commissioned and premiered over twenty contemporary compositions for trombone. He currently holds a teaching position in the jazz department at the New School for Social Research and is an assistant professor at Columbia University.