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Get to Know Gabriel Campos Zamora

Get to Know Gabriel Campos Zamora

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2016
Principal Clarinet
San José, Costa Rica
The Colburn Conservatory, Los Angeles, CA   

Tell us about your orchestral journey so far.
My first orchestra job was in Norfolk, where I played principal clarinet with the Virginia Symphony. I wasn't there for long before I moved to Kansas City where I played both bass clarinet and was eventually associate principal clarinet. The rest is history—here I am in Minnesota! 

Do you come from a musical family?
I was born and raised in San José, Costa Rica, and both my parents are jazz musicians. My dad is a drummer and my mom a singer. For many years they had a group called Jazz Garbo. 

What has been on your music stand recently?
I've had new music for last week's Future Classics concert as well as music for MPR's 50 year celebration. I also have Rossini's Introduction, Theme and Variations, which is a concerto that I'm playing with the Linden Hills Chamber Orchestra. 

Which piece on this season are you most excited to perform?
I'm really looking forward to playing and recording Mahler's Fourth Symphony. This piece is a sort of pillar in my musical formation and I have some very deep memories from when I was growing up, musically speaking!

Gabriel Campos Zamora, center, performing Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony with the Minnesota Orchestra, November 2017

Which solo in the clarinet’s repertoire do you love?

This year I got to play Beethoven’s Fourth. There are a couple of incredible clarinet solos in the slow movement that are usually heard in auditions–they are a lot easier to play with an actual orchestra! 

If not the clarinets, which section of the orchestra would you like to be in?
Ever since I knew that music was something I wanted to do professionally, I have wished that I hadn't dropped violin as a kid, especially because of the amount of chamber music repertoire violinists have available to them.

What is one of your proudest career moments?
Lately, I'd say that being in the Minnesota Orchestra and feeling as welcomed as I do is an incredible source of pride!

Campos, center, receives special recognition along with his colleagues, for a performance of Copland's Appalachian Spring  in August 2017. 

Do you have any advice for audience members?
For those who are new to Orchestra Hall, come talk to us! Musicians love to greet all audience members before and after the concert and during intermission. It's an absolute pleasure for us to walk you through a piece that perhaps you don't quite understand. There was a point in all of our lives in which we didn't understand the same piece. Don't be shy!

Do you have advice for aspiring musicians?
Practice, practice, practice, but also listen to as much music as you can. Listen to live music, support your Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and any other music organization that you think might interest you! 

If you weren’t a musician, what would you do?
I come from a family of doctors and I thought I might want to do that when I was younger. Who knows, maybe I'll still switch careers and one day become a doctor!

What is coming up for you?
We have a week of Brahms' Fourth Symphony coming up (November 16 and 17), and I have a performance with the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota in December. 

What do you love to do when you aren't performing?
I'm a huge soccer fan and can't wait to visit the Minnesota United's new stadium. Also, I'm constantly on the lookout for the best Old Fashioned cocktail in the Twin Cities–if you have a recommendation let me know!

Click here to read more about Gabriel. 


  • This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
    This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
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    Official Airline of the Minnesota Orchestra