NIck Platoff

is committed to harnessing the power of music to bring joy and healing to the world.


I am the Associate Principal Trombonist with the San Francisco Symphony and also work as a chamber musician, vocalist, improviser, conductor, composer/arranger, concert producer, and recording artist.

I make many kinds of music in many locations, teach in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College Division and for the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra, and curate a concert series for Sheltertech.

Learn more about my story here.

If you think I can add value to your event or project, have a question, or want to reach out for any other reason, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me here.


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Music has tremendous power for positive impact in the world. I consider it a great responsibility to share it with all people, and to share what I’ve learned to empower the next generation of musicians, just as my teachers and colleagues have done (and continue to do!) for me. 

When I teach, I aim to equip each student with all of the tools necessary for their continued individual improvement. Teachers can guide someone in the right direction, but ultimately each student does the work on their own. 

Together, we work on building and refining a simple, relaxed, and efficient technical approach to the instrument, where the body and mind are aligned for turning energy into sound. I encourage my students to explore different musical styles and understand each music’s unique building blocks of rhythm, style, tone color, and phrasing. 

Then, with technique and specific musical understanding, we work to communicate maximum expression to the audience.

If you'd like to schedule a lesson or class, contact me here.

Between two of my trombone heroes, Joe Alessi and Per Brevig, after teaching studio class at  Juilliard  October 2018.

Between two of my trombone heroes, Joe Alessi and Per Brevig, after teaching studio class at Juilliard October 2018.


My Story

I grew up in a musical household in New Haven, Connecticut. My dad, musicologist John Platoff, introduced me to an enormous variety of classical, pop, and world music, and we sang often together as a family. I started studying trombone with Jim Fryer and Terrence Fay at Neighborhood Music School in fourth grade. After discovering the symphonies of Gustav Mahler at age 16, I decided to pursue music professionally. 


I attended Northwestern University for my Bachelors of Music in Trombone Performance and Music Theory, and studied with Michael Mulcahy, Christopher Davis, Peter Ellefson, Randall Hawes, Timothy Higgins, and Douglas Wright (also counting Ian Bousfield, Per Brevig, and Warren Deck as important mentors I've learned from over the years). As a sophomore, I founded the Players Operation Chamber Orchestra, a 40-person ensemble that showcased the talents of student composers and soloists, and served as its conductor and artistic director. 


After college, I moved to Miami Beach to begin a fellowship with the New World Symphony. In addition to performing weekly concerts and studying with visiting faculty, I produced and curated MIXTAPE, a live concert adaptation of the multi-genre listening parties I hosted in college, to a standing-room only audience, 42% of whom were attending a NWS concert for the first time.

This was also the beginning of my career as an educator, teaching my first lessons and masterclasses in addition to co-founding the Miami Brass Festival, a day-long clinic for high school-age brass students.


In September 2016, I joined the San Francisco Symphony as Associate Principal Trombone. Since then, I've had the pleasure of performing over 300 concerts with my first-class colleagues at our home in Davies Symphony Hall and many of the world's great concert halls. 


Outside of my symphony work, I love making music whenever and wherever possible. I spend a lot of time composing and recording in my home studio, teaching locally and as guest faculty at the National Orchestral Institute, and performing solo with my loop station and as a member of the Miami-based Nu Deco Ensemble


I feel extreme gratitude toward the many communities that have given me the opportunity to do what I love. To all of my dear friends, colleagues, mentors, and listeners: I appreciate you so much. Please know that every note I play is for you ❤️. If you'd like to get involved with the work I'm doing in the Bay Area with Global Shapers or the Sheltertech concert series, please email me here.