Brad Howland, Principal Trombone

Brad officially joined the Victoria Symphony in 1989, after playing one season on second trombone. He has performed in the past as a substitute musician with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, CBC Vancouver Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and Palm Court Orchestra.

Brad plays both euphonium and trombone in the group Heavy Metal (the Victoria Symphony low brass section), which provides educational concerts throughout Victoria.

A graduate of Northwestern University and the University of British Columbia, Brad has taught trombone on the faculties of the Comox Valley Youth Music Centre, Marrowstone Music Festival, Victoria Conservatory of Music, and University of Victoria.

Brad began publishing music in 1998, with the goal of helping brass musicians find good arrangements for their performances. His catalog has grown to over 500 pieces, and is a popular site for finding brass sheet music online.

Hometown: Kamloops, BC

First season with the VS: 1988/89

Most memorable VS experience: Performing Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck with Pacific Opera Victoria. POV used Canadian composer John Rea’s reduction of Berg’s massive score (sanctioned by the Berg family), which combined five trombone and tuba parts into one. It was a virtuoso trombone part with range from pedal F# to high E, and 39 pages of almost continuous playing. I practiced it for six months.

Hobbies and interests: reading and hiking.

Favourite things to do around the capital region: fishing the lakes near Victoria.

Learn more about Brad at


  1. Hi Brad, I was just reading your comments about playing in the Wozzek orchestra. That evening was truly amazing, as I have been a Berg/Schoenberg/Webern fan for years. I took two of my kids ( 15 and 17). They were fascinated, as they’d heard this ‘sort of thing’ before. We were sitting close to the front and I was transfixed !
    I’m the guy who was a Remington student, who lives a few doors down from Bob.

  2. Hi Brad,
    Russ McIntosh here. I was a student back in 2000 or so.
    I was wondering if we could talk about trombone brands as I am
    once again looking to purchase a horn similar to the Conn 88HO I had at that time.
    I had traded it for a 1937 2B, Liberty model.Anyway, I’m going to keep it, but would like your opinion on a similar
    classical horn, like the Conn

    • Hi Russ. I remember – nice to hear from you!

      I believe you want something with a .547″ bore, an 8-1/2″ inch bell, and an F attachment.

      I think most professional players have now moved past the Conn 88H. Yamaha began making superior instruments a while back, and a lot of players went to that, including Marcus and myself.

      A pro Yamaha similar to the 88H would be some flavor of YSL-882. A less expensive intermediate model would be YSL-448G. Even though it’s cheaper, a YSL-448G would be very well made, and could be great for your needs. It might even be easier to play than the YSL-882.

      A new 88H might be ok: I just don’t feel they are as good as Yamaha.

      You might also go for a Getzen large bore or symphonic trombone. I’ve heard anecdotally that Getzen is a much-improved, intermediate-level trombone. I haven’t tried their large bore models, but I did try a Getzen small bore trombone last year and it was pretty good.

      I tried a Jupiter a few years ago, but didn’t like it. I also don’t think you’d want to get into Bach or Shires, if looking for a similar trombone to an 88H.

      You might need to order from the U.S. I had to go down to Seattle when I bought my Yamaha a few years ago. But maybe L&McQ or Tapestry can bring in an instrument for you to try.

      All the best!


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