Merit School of Music

Timothy Riordan

Faculty: Trombone


Eastman School of Music, BM, Trombone Performance and Performer’s Certificate


Timothy Riordan heads the acclaimed trombone studio at Merit School of Music in Chicago. He also teaches trombone at Northern Illinois University, the Washington Brass Institute, and VanderCook College of Music and previously taught trombone for the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a program to develop future professional orchestral musicians from underrepresented backgrounds.

Riordan presented masterclasses at Juilliard, Eastman, Northwestern, DePaul, Lawrence, Indiana University, and University of Illinois focusing on his methods of teaching young trombonists. He taught at Carthage College and served as brass chamber coach for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. He also served as trombone choir director for the International Trombone Festival Youth Workshop and led the Merit Trombone Choir in performances at both the 2018 and 2019 International Trombone Festivals. He presented and performed at the 2015 and 2018 Midwest Trombone and Euphonium Conferences.

Students and chamber groups from Riordan’s studio have won numerous awards and honors, including six $10,000 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships for talented, low-income high school musicians. His student trombone quartets and brass groups have performed eight different times on the From the Top National Public Radio program and the PBS From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall television show. They also won the American Brass Quintet Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020. Riordan was the coach of the M-Prize Junior Winds first and second place winners at the 2017 M-Prize competition.

Riordan’s high school students have been named principal and bass trombone of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra (NYO) several times, including bass trombone for both NYO and NYO-2 in 2020. Former students have attended many of the nation’s top schools of music and have performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Illinois Symphony, and many other orchestras worldwide. They have also performed on Saturday Night Live and the Grammys and toured with some of the biggest names in jazz and popular music.

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