Zachary Johnson


Photos by Matt Dine


Finalist, 2020 American Trombone Workshop Division 2 Solo Competition


Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, 2021–23

What made you decide to become a musician? Was there a particular performance or person that influenced your decision?

I decided to become a musician in the summer of my Sophomore year of high school when a friend showed me a recording of Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony that blew me away. A few years later I got to see the Boston Symphony perform Tchaikovsky’s 4th at Tanglewood, and that was the moment I knew I made the right choice to become a musician.

What is the most memorable performance you ever had?

My most memorable performance was the NEC Brass Bash in the spring of 2023 performing with the great trombonist Marshall Gilkes. We performed some of his music and I had a few major solos throughout that were quite challenging and rewarding to come together in a great concert!

Do you have a favorite non-classical musician or band?


What is the biggest challenge and/or surprise about playing in an orchestra?

The thing that still surprises me about it is the mental and physical energy it requires to rehearse and perform consistently, as well as being able to perform at your best regardless of how tired or unfocused you may be that day.

What advice would you give your younger self or anyone starting out?

Take things slow and don’t worry about the people around you. One or two percent of improvement every day is all you need to succeed.