Garth Simmons is the principal trombonist with the Toledo Symphony and a member of the Detroit Chamber Winds. He began playing trombone at age nine in his hometown of Billings, Montana. After leaving the West at age 17, he earned his Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, studying with Frank Crisafulli. Garth continued his studies at the Aspen Festival with Per Brevig, and at the Eastman School of Music with John Marcellus, earning a Masters degree and Performer’s Certificate, that institution’s highest honor. During his graduate study at Eastman, Mr. Simmons won a one-year position as principal trombone in the Florida Symphony Orchestra.
Following his graduation from Eastman, Garth spent several years in Chicago, where he enjoyed a highly successful career as a freelance musician. During this time he held the position of second trombone with both the Chicago Sinfonietta and Elgin Symphony Orchestra, while continuing his studies in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Other notable performing credits from this time include Sir Georg Solti’s Carnegie Hall Project, the Schlossfestspiele Heidelberg, Germany, the Chicago Opera Theater, and soloist with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra.
In 1997, Mr. Simmons left Chicago to become the principal trombonist with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 2000. While in Birmingham, Garth was on the faculty of Birmingham-Southern College and the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
In addition to his duties with the TSO, Garth maintains an active schedule as a soloist, chamber musician and educator. He is regularly featured as a soloist with the TSO, including performances of Christopher Rouse’s Trombone Concerto in March of 2008. Mr. Simmons has presented numerous recitals as a visiting artist, including appearances at the University of Alabama, Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University, The University, of Toledo, and Northwestern University. From 2006 to 2017, Mr. Simmons was adjunct associate professor of trombone at Bowling Green State University. During this time he taught applied trombone, brass chamber music, and brass orchestral repertoire. Garth can be heard on several recordings with the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of the Assumption Grotto, and the Asbury Brass Quintet. Garth has also performed as a substitute and extra with the Detroit and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras. His debut solo CD, American Visions, was released in October of 2013.