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  • Writer's pictureBrad Hogarth

SF Conservatory Article! From Pit to Podium: Brad Hogarth on Making Your Own Way in Music

Thank you to the San Francisco Conservatory for this article!

From Pit to Podium: Brad Hogarth on Making Your Own Way in Music

SFCM professor Brad Hogarth on his journey from the orchestra to the baton—and back again, and what he wants students to learn from it.

Trumpeter. Conductor. Professor. 

Brad Hogarth wears many titles, and he wouldn't want it any other way. "I still love playing in the brass section, and my time and experience playing in orchestras informs how I approach conducting," Hogarth said. The maestro is also passionate about music education, he is on trumpet faculty and conducts the Conservatory Wind Ensemble. 

As an accomplished trumpet player, Hogarth spent nearly a decade performing in some of the finest orchestras in the world, but has recently leapt out of the pit and onto the podium. In December, he made his conducting debut with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra for the Nutcracker, after subbing with the ensemble for eight years. 

Before that, in 2022 he made his conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony Brass. "I had been a substitute trumpet in the orchestra for 10 years before making my conducting debut. "It's a long way from when he first performed with the SFS in the orchestra in 2012 "At that point, I certainly did not see myself at the podium!" he added.

But things change, and that's a lesson he wants students to learn. "It’s ok to be passionate about multiple things!" Hogarth continued. "Having many interests can be an advantage if you use them to carve out a career path that feels exciting and authentic to you."  

Brad Hogarth conducts at Davies Symphony Hall.

Hogarth encourages students to try new experiences on and off the music stage. He plans on continuing to conduct and play the trumpet as opportunities present themselves. "It's really difficult to choose. There are days when conducting is the best, others when trumpet is. Being able to balance both is generally when I am happiest," Hogarth said. In mid-March he conducted another SF Symphony Brass concert: "The ensemble is full of not only my friends and colleagues, but the musicians who were my mentors during and after my master's degree at SFCM. It is an absolute privilege to conduct them."

His interest in trying out new things can be traced back to his time in school, when, as an undergrad, he double-majored in music education and trumpet performance. "There is a stigma with music education sometimes that, if you go that route, you can't also be a top-tier performer, and I hope to dispel that," Hogarth said. "I am passionate about music education and it has never done anything but help me actualize into the best musician I can be, both on the stage and on the podium."


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