MUSC 2120: The Jazz Orchestra and Orchestral Approaches to Jazz featuring guest speaker Chris Washburne

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

4:15pm - 5:30pm

Trombonist Chris Washburne, Associate Professor of Music at Columbia University, joins Professor Anthony Cheung as a guest speaker for Cheung’s course, MUSC 2120 The Jazz Orchestra and Orchestral Approaches to Jazz. The virtual talk is free and open to the public. Please write to Professor Cheung directly, if you would like to attend.

Guest Speaker Series

Professor Washburne’s visit is part of a series of MUSC 2120 The Jazz Orchestra and Orchestral Approaches to Jazz guest talks this semester. Click here to view all upcoming MUSC 2120 talks in the series.

About Chris Washburne

Chris Washburne is Associate Professor of Music at Columbia University and the founder and director of Columbia’s Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program. He has published numerous articles on jazz, Latin jazz, and salsa. His newest book, Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York was published in 2008 by Temple University Press. He co-edited the volume Bad Music (Routledge, 2004) and is currently working on a book on Latin jazz which will be published by Oxford University Press.

As a trombonist, he has toured extensively with various groups and concertized throughout the Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. He has commissioned and premiered over twenty contemporary compositions for trombone and has performed on over 150 recordings. His highly acclaimed Latin jazz group, SYOTOS, is the busiest and most in demand Latin jazz groups in New York, performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, BAM, the Blue Note, MOMA, Smoke, Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club, Smalls, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. His jazz group, FFEAR, co-led by saxophonist Ole Mathisen, has been featured on NPR’s JazzSet, hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater and regularly tours in Europe. He has been hailed as “One of the best trombonists in salsa…” by Peter Watrous of The New York Times and “one of the most important trombonists performing today” by Brad Walseth of

He was voted as “Rising Star of the Trombone” numerous times in the annual Downbeat Critics Poll. He has performed with Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ruben Blades, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Justin Timberlake, Marc Anthony, Björk, They Might Be Giants, Roscoe Mitchell, Grady Tate, Jaki Byard, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Danilo Caymmi, Ran Blake, the Smithereens, Don Richols, Arturo Sandoval, Hilton Ruíz, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Roswell Rudd, Walter Thompson, RMM Allstar Salsa Band, Eddie Henderson, Anthony Braxton, Ray Barretto, John Cale, Baba Olatunje, Candido, Freddie Cole, Maria Schneider Big Band, Chico O’Farrill, Leslie Uggams, Dicapo Opera Company, St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-stars, SEM Ensemble, American Microtonal Festival Chamber Orchestra, and the Dinosaur Annex under the direction of Gunther Schuller, among many others.

About MUSC 2120 The Jazz Orchestra and Orchestral Approaches to Jazz

MUSC 2120 Instructor: Anthony Cheung

This course offers several views of what it means to write for the “jazz orchestra.” As the history of jazz tends to prioritize the contributions of individuals and small groups, what does it mean for composers who have ambitions that extend beyond typical expectations of instrumental forces, duration, and form? We will focus on specific examples that have challenged conventions and redefined idioms. From the innovations in orchestration and scale of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the classic Gil Evans/Miles Davis albums, to the “progressive” experiments of Stan Kenton (and later Don Ellis), to the intergalactic theater of the Sun Ra Arkestra, to works for full symphony orchestra, we will examine complex issues of tradition, community, and race that have accompanied these collaborations, and the compatibility (or not) of musical challenges regarding improvisation, notation, and pedagogy.