Tim Salzman started his career in drum corps in 1969 as a 14-year-old baritone player with the White Tornadoes Drum and Bugle Corps in Momence, Illinois. After two seasons he had no interaction with drum corps until shortly before his senior year in college (1976), when he attended a show in Racine, Wisconsin that featured the Vanguard, Blue Devils, Phantom Regiment, Madison Scouts, and Cavaliers. He was thunderstruck by the positive musical changes in the activity and was instantly drawn to the notion of becoming involved. After undergraduate school at Wheaton College (IL) he enrolled in the graduate program at Northern Illinois University where he met fellow graduate student and ultimate DCI Hall of Famer Jim Campbell who persuaded him to become involved with the Guardsmen as a brass arranger and instructor. The Guardsmen were DCI finalists during his three-year involvement (1978-1980) and the sound of the Guardsmen’s brass section impressed many, including Gail Royer who had the foresight to see where the trajectory of brass performance in DCI was headed. In 1981, Gail hired Tim to join SCV as brass caption head where he drew on his instrumental music education background which served to elevate the performance of the Vanguard’s brass section while simultaneously introducing new concepts of brass performance and pedagogy to the world of Drum Corps.
According to SCV Hall of Fame member Gordon Henderson, “Tim’s approach was to heighten the members’ sense of musicality, in a manner consistent with the development of a concert ensemble, which helped to promote the classical musical repertoire selected by Gail Royer. It was also very compatible with the sensitive musical approach of Ralph Hardimon’s percussion arrangements. This approach led the SCV brass section to their first DCI Finals caption victories in both 1984 and 1987, a feat not repeated by SCV until 2018”. These sentiments were echoed by Chris Nalls, Director of Bands at Branham High School and SCV Brass Instructor (1983, 1985-1988, 1997), when he shared, “To put it simply, Tim Salzman is the finest ensemble teacher that I have ever encountered in drum corps”.
“Tim also had a sly sense of humor and knew the value of competition among a group of 18-year-old hotshots. Once, I recall him getting down on the ground and doing pushups with the baritones to prove some point about breathing, or to possibly goad them into working just a bit harder by getting their competitive juices flowing. There were good horn instructors with the corps, certainly, but Tim was always a bit… different in the way he taught” recalls Kevin Brooks, SCV soprano player (1984-1988) and former VMAPA Board Member and Chair.
Tim’s final year with SCV was 1987, but the program he established carried over for several more years, including SCV’s DCI Championship in 1989, when the brass section finished in second place, after winning brass at virtually every show that summer until that night.
In 1982, during his tenure with the Vanguard, Tim Salzman also began to teach and arrange for the Cavaliers, a tenure that spanned fifteen seasons and helped establish an identity for the Green Machine that was marked by a commitment to bring excellent concert band and wind ensemble literature to the field. The work ethic Salzman helped instill among corps members paid off as they won their first DCI Championship title in 1992, and another soon followed in 1995. In 2000 he was named an Honorary Cavalier. After his election to the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame in 2014 the Boston Crusaders hired him as a consultant for two seasons (2015-2016).
Tim Salzman will begin his 37th year at the University of Washington in the fall of 2023 where he serves as Professor of Music/Director of Concert Bands, is conductor of the University Wind ensemble and teaches students enrolled in the graduate instrumental conducting program. Former graduate wind conducting students of Professor Salzman have obtained positions at 69 universities and colleges throughout the United States and include past Presidents of the American Bandmasters Association and the College Band Directors National Association.
Professor Salzman has been a conductor, adjudicator, arranger, or consultant for bands throughout the United States, Canada, England, France, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, China and Japan, a country he has visited twenty-one times. Recently, he has made several trips to China where he served as visiting professor at the China Conservatory, given master classes for numerous wind bands, and conducted several ensembles including: the Shanghai Wind Orchestra, the People’s Liberation Army Band, the Beijing Wind Orchestra and the Tsinghua University Band in concerts in 2016/2017/2018. He served on three occasions as an adjudicator for the Singapore Youth Festival National Concert Band Championships. He has also conducted several of the major military bands in the United States, including a 2019 world premiere with ‘The President’s Own’ United States Marine Band. He is compiling editor and co-author (with several current and former UW graduate students) of A Composer’s Insight: Thoughts, Analysis and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band, a five-volume series of books on contemporary wind band composers. He is also a contributing author to a new book about his former teacher, Arnold Jacobs: His Artistic and Pedagogical Legacies in the 21st Century. He is an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association and is a past president of the Northwest Division of the College Band Directors National Association.