New Yorker Braden Toan’s eclectic career crosses from opera to American musical theater, as well as the symphony and choral worlds. Trained at Oberlin Conservatory, the Julliard School and Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music to be a symphony and opera conductor, opportunity took him on a detour to Broadway in 1991 where he conducted the legendary hit MISS SAIGON and the 2002 revival of MAN OF LA MANCHA starring Brian Stokes Mitchell. At this same time he remained in the opera world conducting in 1995 Rameau’s LES INDES GALANTS in a black box theater in Soho and the New York City Opera National Company’s production of LA FILLE DU REGIMENT in 1998.
This led to being engaged at New York City Opera at Lincoln Center to conduct three musicals – SWEENEY TODD in 2004, CANDIDE in 2005 and THE MOST HAPPY FELLA in 2006. With more classical and operatic training than most Broadway conductors and more Broadway experience than most opera conductors, maestro Toan became a champion of American musical theater on the opera stage, conducting, at Chautauqua Opera in western New York State, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in 2004, THE MUSIC MAN in 2005, ONE UPON A MATTRESS in 2007, and CAMELOT at Ash-Lawn Opera in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2009. From 2009 to 2011 he conducted the Lincoln Center National Company production of SOUTH PACIFIC and then at Amarillo Opera in Texas, CANDIDE in 2013, and the not-so-American shows, THE THREEPENNY OPERA in 2014 and LES MISERABLES in 2015. Also remaining with the standard and modern opera repertoire, Amarillo Opera additionally engaged him for Offenbach’s LA PERICHOLE in 2012 and two productions of Menotti’s AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS in 2013 and 2014 while in 2009 he also conducted in New York from Paula Kimper’s new opera PATIENCE AND SARAH.
Braden is the son of renowned architect Danforth Toan, who was also a jazz saxophonist and arranger. In the year the maestro opened with MISS SAIGON, his father’s band Jazzitechts opened for Dizzy Gillespie in New York. A musical family, his brother Danny Toan was awarded Top New Jazz Guitarist of the Year for his debut album First Serve.
As a bassoonist and a Tanglewood fellow, Mr. Toan has played under the batons of Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta and James Conlon, and in such diverse ensembles as the New Jersey Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Lake George Opera, Opera North, in the orchestra pit of five Broadway shows, and even playing in the New York City Opera orchestra in the same season that he stood on the podium. He is a member of the American Chamber Ensemble and can be heard on the Elysium label playing the chamber music of Peter Schickele.
As a choral conductor, while still at Juilliard he conducted the Arts Madrigal Singers and was assistant conductor of The American Bach Society, and New York’s Canticum Novum Singers and later The New Amsterdam Singers. He is a gifted teacher and has led over 70 masterclasses with youth ensembles as part of Lincoln Center’s Meet The Artist program