Toby Oft


Lecturer in Music, Trombone


BM, Indiana University; MM, Northwestern University


In September 2008, Music Director James Levine appointed Toby Oft as the 12th Principal Trombone of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since its founding in 1881. 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 began study with such notable teachers as Warren Baker, Jeff Uusitalo, and Peter Ellefson when he reached high school. 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. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University and a Master of Music from Northwestern University.

Moving to Evanston, Illinois, for his graduate work allowed Toby the experience of a successful freelance career in the greater Chicago area until he won his first full time job in Sarasota, Florida, as Principal Trombone of the Sarasota Orchestra, under direction of Leif Bjaland in September 2002.

Toby has performed throughout Europe and the United States with such notable orchestras as the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Most recently, he held the position of Principal Trombone of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jahja Ling.

Throughout his career, Toby has been a student of the trombone. He has gained tremendous insight from studies with Roger Rocco, Michael Mulcahy, Joseph Alessi, Scott Hartman, and John Swallow. He currently enjoys teaching trombone a great deal in addition to cycling, running, and cooking.