Photo by Tom Djll
Toyoji Tomita studied trombone at the Juilliard School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, as well as the didjeridu and modern trombone repertoire with Stuart Dempster. In 1976 he won the First Prize in the Gaudeaumus International competition for Interpreters of Modern Music in Rotterdam, Holland. Living in Paris, France for the next three years, he toured Europe extensively both as a soloist and as a member of the Ensemble Musique Vivante, Diego Masson director. During this time, he worked with John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Vinko Globokar. He received an M.F.A. in electronic composition from Mills College in 1986. He was a music instructor at Mills College in Oakland and performed with several ensembles in the Bay Area, including sfSound, Brassiosaurus and the Mills College Didjeridu Ensemble, which he co-founded. Toyoji was the owner and president of T.P.T. Gardener, Inc., one of the first sustainable gardening companies to be awarded public works contracts including the City of Oakland Frank Ogawa Plaza project and the Alameda County Juvenile Hall renovation project. On April 17, 2008 Toyoji Tomita passed away suddenly of a heart attack.