Charles Timbrell, Professor of Music and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Howard University, has achieved a wide reputation as pianist, author, and teacher. Raised near New York City, he began piano studies at age five with his grandfather, an accomplished organist, and graduated from Blair Academy, where his major interests were music and mathematics. He received his B.Mus. degree in piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he was a scholarship student of Emil Danenberg, and his M.Mus. degree in piano from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Benning Dexter, a former student of Alexander Siloti, a pupil of Liszt.
At Michigan he held a teaching fellowship in piano and was awarded the Lockwood Prize, the highest award in piano. In the same year he received a major alumni grant from Oberlin that allowed him to study in Rome for two years with Guido Agosti, a Chopin specialist and a former student of the famous Ferruccio Busoni. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano from the University of Maryland, where he held a teaching fellowship while studying with the renowned pianist and pedagogue Stewart Gordon. Subsequently he studied piano privately in Paris with Gaby Casadesus, Monique Haas, Eric Heidsieck, and Jeanne-Marie Darré.
He has performed major concerts in New York (Carnegie Recital Hall), Washington (all the major venues, including the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution), London (Wigmore Hall), Paris, Rome, Glasgow, Cardiff, on festivals in Canada, France, England, and the Czech Republic, and on radio broadcasts in the U.S. and throughout Europe. He has also performed or lectured at dozens of leading music schools, including the Royal College of Music (London), London College of Music, the École Normale de Musique (Paris), the Université de Paris/Orsay, the University for Music and Dramatic Arts (Vienna), Juilliard School of Music, Mannes School of Music, Hunter College, Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Oregon, and Vanderbilt University.
Charles Timbrell has played the world or local premieres of piano works by Aaron Copland, Chick Corea, George Crumb, Claude Debussy, Leon Kirchner, Thomas Korth, Franz Liszt, Olivier Messiaen, Lawrence Moss, Dennis Riley, and Elie Siegmeister. He has recorded American music for Dante CD (France) and the Vatican Radio ( Italy). Critics have praised his performances as “masterly, with real insight” (London Times), “beautifully conceived and technically assured” (Washington Post), and “strong, extroverted playing…a virtuosic performance” (New York Times).
In recent years he has divided his time between performing and writing. He is the author of French Pianism (Amadeus Press, 1999), and of more than 300 articles and reviews in Music & Letters, Cahiers Debussy, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Journal of the American Liszt Society, Piano Quarterly, International Piano,International Record Review, Fanfare, and other publications; and essays on historical pianists for EMI Records, Pearl, Dante, Gasparo, Pierian, Ivory Classics, Tahra, and Hyperion Records. He is also the author of a chapter on performance practices in the Cambridge Companion to Debussy (2003), a performing edition of Bizet’s Jeux d’enfants (Alfred Publications, 2004), a performing edition of Chopin's Barcarolle (Alfred Publications, forthcoming 2007) and Prince of Virtuosos: A Life of Walter Rummel, American Pianist (Scarecrow Press, 2005).
He has served for five years on the Fulbright Selection Committee (Piano) and has twice served on the District of.Columbia’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He is frequently invited to give master classes and he has judged national and international competitions in the U.S., France, and the Czech Republic. He presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington Music Teachers Association and the Board of Trustees of the Friday Morning Music Club Foundation. He is listed in numerous biographical dictionaries, including The International Who’s Who in Music and Who’s Who in American Music.
Dr. Timbrell holds Master Teacher Certification from the Music Teachers National Association. His former students have been admitted as piano majors at many leading American music schools. In addition to Howard University, he has taught piano at the University of Richmond, piano and graduate music history at American University, and doctoral courses in piano literature at the University of Maryland.