Tim Albright poses with his trombone on the sidewalk of Main Hall Green.
Portrait on Main Hall Green: Tim Albright (Photo by Aaron Lindeman '27)

About the series: On Main Hall Green With … is an opportunity to connect with faculty on things in and out of the classroom. We’re featuring a different Lawrence faculty member each time — same questions, different answers.


Tim Albright, a trombone professor at Lawrence University since 2016, has lived a musical life.

He can be found directing the Trombone Ensemble in the Conservatory of Music, performing with the Faculty Brass Quintet and the Faculty Jazz Ensemble, and coaching chamber music and jazz small group ensembles.

And in his spare time, knitting a sweet scarf.

Albright cut his teeth working for 17 years as a professional musician in New York City while launching a teaching career. A former member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet, he is now with the newly founded brass octet, Brassology. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, New York Chamber Brass, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Miguel Zenón Identities Jazz Orchestra, the Alan Ferber Big Band, and the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, among others. And he has recorded with Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, and The National. His work with Bon Iver included tracks on i,i, the Grammy-nominated album from 2019. And he appears on Dafnis Prieto’s 2019 Grammy-winning Latin-Jazz album, Back to the Sunset.

Integrate intellectual and musical virtuosity in a supportive, creative community that will empower you to find your musical path. 

Albright earned Bachelor of Music degrees in applied music (trombone) and jazz studies and commercial media from the Eastman School of Music.

We caught up with him to talk about interests in and out of the classroom.

In the classroom

Inside info: What’s one thing you want every student coming into your classes to know about you?

I want my incoming students to know that I have a huge amount of admiration for them and for their journey, and I am traveling right alongside them. I am on my own life-long path of learning as a teacher, musician, and human, and I think there is a beauty in knowing that there is never an endpoint to that path. Just about every day, I come to look at teaching and learning in a slightly new way. And as I evolve as a teacher, the one thing that remains constant is the care that I put into being the best that I can be for each student.

Getting energized: What work have you done or will you be doing at Lawrence that gets you the most excited?

It might sound cliché, but I am energized by my students every day. To see them progress toward their goals and to hear the amazing things they do with their music is a huge inspiration. In addition, being part of the inaugural How to Practice class spearheaded by Estelí Gomez and Catherine Walby this fall was fantastic. It was fun and exciting to share my own approach toward practice, and perhaps even more rewarding to learn from the other practitioners and students in the class.

Going places: Is there an example of somewhere your career has taken you (either a physical space or something more intellectual, emotional, or spiritual) that took you by surprise? 

Oh wow, I am fortunate that my musical career has taken me to so many intriguing and wonderful places around the world; it’s hard to pick just one. I have hiked to the top of Mount Fuji in Japan, admired Byzantine mosaics in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and crept among skeletons in the Paris catacombs. But, really, the most significant place my career has taken me is to a state of gratitude. I am eternally grateful for my family, friends, and mentors, too many to name here, who have helped me and continue to help me along my musical and life journey. 

Out of the classroom

This or that: If you weren’t teaching for a living, what would you be doing?

I’m not sure if it’s possible to make a living at this, but during the early days of the pandemic, I discovered a love for knitting! I first learned to knit as a way of passing the time on long train commutes in NYC. After taking several years off, I started knitting again as a way to relieve stress during COVID lockdown, and I have been working on one project or another ever since. I love the soothing, tactile sensation of the wool between my fingers, and the repetitive click of the needles brings a mindful moment to my day.

Right at home: Whether for work, relaxation or reflection, what’s your favorite spot on campus?

Hands down, it’s got to be the Warch Campus Center. For one, the space itself is beautiful with its vaulted ceilings and picturesque views of the Fox River. But, beyond that, the Campus Center has so much to offer. I stop by weekly for rehearsals with Kinka Viwo (LU’s African drumming and dancing ensemble) and dinner at Andrew Commons. What's not to love about a sundae bar? Also, my family and I have discovered that when students are away for summer and winter break, it’s the perfect time to snag the ping pong table for an epic match.

One book, one recording, one film: Name one of each that speaks to your soul? Or you would recommend to a friend? Or both?

Brené Brown’s Atlas of the Heart, Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, and Pixar’s Soul. 

When I grew up, expressing emotion was often looked down upon, especially among men. I love how Atlas normalizes vulnerability and introduces a vocabulary for feelings that I can share with my sons.

Brahms’ first symphony was the first piece I ever played with the San Francisco Youth Symphony. During the first rehearsal, I was half laughing with glee, half crying with joy at the beauty of the sounds around me. It has been one of my favorite pieces ever since.

It’s always a bit frustrating to watch a movie about music where the actors’ movements are all wrong. Soul’s animators were so spot on with capturing musicians’ gestures, it really feels like you’re right there in the jazz club with them.

See more faculty profiles in the On Main Hall Green With ... series.