Tim Higgins

Principal, Robert L. Samter Chair

Timothy Higgins joined the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Trombone, occupying the Robert L. Samter Chair, in 2008. He was previously acting second trombone with the National Symphony. A Houston native, Mr. Higgins graduated from Northwestern University and has performed with the Milwaukee, Virginia, and Chicago symphonies, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and the Baltimore Symphony. In 2005, he won the Robert Marsteller Competition and the ITA Trombone Quartet Competition, both part of the International Trombone Association. For more on Timothy Higgins, visit

(September 2018)

Nick Platoff

Associate Principal Trombone

Nick PlatoffNick Platoff joined the San Francisco Symphony as Associate Principal Trombone in the 2016–17 season. He studied at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and was a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami. He was a winner of the Aspen Music Festival and School Brass and Percussion Concerto Competition, National Brass Symposium Trombone Excerpt Competition, and United States Coast Guard Band Young Artist Competition. Mr. Platoff is a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra and serves on the faculty of the SF Conservatory Pre-College Division. For more on Nick Platoff, visit

(September 2019)

Paul Welcomer

Paul Welcomer joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1994 after a year as an acting member of the Orchestra. Born in West Chester, PA, he received a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory. Before joining the SFS, he served as principal trombone of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and the United States Air Force Band. He is a founding member of the Bay Brass and teaches trombone at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For more on Paul Welcomer, visit

(September 2018)

John Engelkes


John Engelkes John Engelkes joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1981. He has been a member of the Baltimore Symphony and has also performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and Florida Symphony. He studied with John Hansen at the University of Northern Iowa, where he received his bachelor’s degree, and later pursued a master's degree at Northwestern University, where studied with Frank Crisafulli and Edward Kleinhammer. While in Chicago, Mr. Engelkes performed in the Northwestern Wind Ensemble, Northwestern Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Chicago Pops. He serves on the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is a founding member of the Bay Brass.

(September 2018)