In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC’s current recommendations, Merit School of Music has closed the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center and suspended all in-person activities. Virtual options are now available for summer camps, private lessons, Early Childhood classes, and small group classes. We thank you for your understanding and continued support during this unprecedented situation.

To learn more about online offerings and supporting Merit during this time, please

Faculty & Staff

Timothy Riordan

Director of Chamber Music; Ensemble Director: Merit Brass Ensemble & Merit Trombone Choir; Faculty: Trombone & Jazz Trombone


Studied at Eastman School of Music


A trombone instructor at Merit since 2002, Timothy Riordan has worked with hundreds of students in one of the largest and most successful pre-college trombone studios in the country. He has given masterclasses at Juilliard, Eastman, Indiana University, University of Illinois, and DePaul University, among other schools, explaining his method of teaching trombone to 9 – 18 year olds.

Among his responsibilities at Merit, Mr. Riordan directs the Trombone Choir, which has performed on local radio and television, and for several major Chicago events. He also directs the Merit Brass Ensemble, which has performed in joint concerts with ensembles from the Netherlands and Mexico as part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth in Music Festival. He coaches the Merit Honors Brass Quintet, which won first prize at the Rembrandt Chamber Competition, among other top recognitions. Mr. Riordan’s students have received numerous awards and honors, including four $10,000 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships for talented, low-income high school musicians.

Mr. Riordan studied at the Eastman School of Music. Among his many professional performances, he played with a joint American-Russian orchestra, which toured after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and was the subject of a PBS documentary. Closer to home, he has played with the Chicago Philharmonia, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, and the Southwest Symphony; and with orchestras at several Chicago theaters. He has performed with jazz luminaries Diane Schuur and Phil Woods, and with the Star Orchestra, big band of the Star Plaza Theater.

« Back to Faculty & Staff

Contact Information


“I love the culture, the students, and the high standards of Merit and its programs.”