These Symphony-commissioned feature articles offer insights into the music you’ll hear in the concert hall.

Mar 2, 2018

Meet the SF Symphony Musicians: Nick Platoff

Nick Platoff

Associate Principal Trombone
Member since: 
Hometown: New Haven, CT

Nick Platoff is Everywhere... If you’re reading this at Davies Symphony Hall, Nick Platoff, our Associate Principal Trombone, is probably right in front of you. Nick remembers being very nervous about his first San Francisco Symphony rehearsal two years ago. “I found something that many people had said to me for years was true: The better the orchestra, the easier it is to play with them! All I needed to do was fit my part into this giant, glorious machine my colleagues had already created. That’s not to say it’s easy. You have to work hard; it’s like being on a great soccer team.”

And when he’s not where you see him now, you might find him in places such as…

… coaching the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra or sharing music at an SFS Adventures in Music program. “Working with the wonderful SFSYO low brass section is one of the best parts of my week. Helping them learn and grow is a tremendous honor for me.”

A particularly special moment for Nick occurred at one of the SFS Adventures in Music programs: “I played ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ to demonstrate what a trombone sounds like... and more than two thousand children started singing along with me. It was an absolutely ethereal sound, a highlight of my time here so far.”

For the past couple of summers, Nick’s been at Burning Man, the communitarian art happening at Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. In September 2017, he was part of a performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring—and the audience was ten thousand strong. “Aside from the fact that I was playing a plastic trombone, and there was a sand storm in the middle of our sound check, it ended up being a very cool experience!”

Nick will relive that experience this month when the SFS performs The Rite of Spring as part of the Stravinsky Festival, with Michael Tilson Thomas on the podium. He shares that “there are a lot of really violent juxtapositions of time. It’s an intricate dance. If you mess up, you’re really going to disrupt your colleagues!”

When he’s not making or sharing music, Nick enjoys walking around the city, hiking, checking out the great restaurants, and sailing with his SFS colleagues. “I love so many things about the Bay Area. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.”

“My website bio includes a line that I always try to live up to: ‘Nick Platoff is everywhere.’ I want to take advantage of my youth, to go out and be everywhere, play everything at all times, teach everyone, and just do everything!”

photo credit: Jeanette Yu


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