Toby Oft was appointed principal trombone of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in September 2008; he occupies the JP and Mary B Barger chair at the BSO. The son of music educators, he was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He started playing trombone with his father, Michael Oft, at the age of 6, and though he admits his inspiration in high school was jazz trombone, when he got to college he shifted focus to classical trombone and orchestral study.
Moving to Evanston, Illinois, for his graduate work allowed Oft the experience of a successful freelance career in the greater Chicago area until he won his first full-time job as principal trombone of the Florida West Coast Symphony, under the direction of Leif Bjaland, in September 2002.
Oft has performed throughout Europe and the U.S. with such notable orchestras as the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. While Oft was principal trombone with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the orchestra recorded an all-Copland album on the Naxos label, entitled American Classics.
Oft came to Boston from the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jahja Ling, where he was principal trombone since summer 2006. He is the twelfth principal trombone of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since its inception in 1881.
B.M., Indiana University, M.M., Northwestern University. Trombone studies with Warren Baker, Jeff Uusitalo, Peter Ellefson, Roger Rocco, Michael Mulcahy, Joseph Alessi, Scott Hartman, and John Swallow.
Photo by Michael J. Lutch/courtesy BSO