Conductor Norman Gamboa, music director of Sonoma County's American Philharmonic orchestra, leads a peripatetic life.
As the director of two other orchestras — the Powder River Symphony Orchestra in Gillette, Wyo., and the Aurora Symphony Orchestra in Aurora, Col. — the 41-year-old maestro spends much of his life on the road.
“It's hilarious, because when someone calls me, the first question is, 'Where are you?' ” he said. “Normally, I'm in Sonoma County for three weeks of rehearsals. But this Wednesday, I fly to Colorado. Then Thursday, I fly back here.”
Gamboa often spends more time waiting in the airport than actually flying, but there are some perks.
“I have frequent-flyer miles coming out of my ears,” he said.
When commuting between his semi-profesional orchestra in Wyoming and his community- based orchestra in Colorado, he hops into a loaner car provided by the local dealership for the 700-mile drive.
“It gets really complicated,” he said.
“Right now, I'm living in Louisiana, but I'm moving to Denver on Thanksgiving.”
Gamboa grew up in Costa Rica, where he started playing the euphonium (a small tuba) at age 10.
At age 21, he went to Albany, N.Y. to play in a music festival and ended up winning a scholarship to Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
He received a master's degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is writing his Ph.D. thesis for Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
This is his first full season with the American Philharmonic, a community-based orchestra that attracts musicians with its challenging repertoire.
At 8 p.m. Nov. 16 and 2 p.m. Nov. 17, Gamboa will lead Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 3 at Santa Rosa High School Auditorium. $10 at the door. apsonoma.org.