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.