Zachary Travis


Photos by Matt Dine


Presser Award Scholar, Peabody Conservatory, 2016

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

Seeing my dad, who is a professional opera singer, perform at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. I was very young and completely amazed by the music, costumes and set!

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career?

I think that I always wanted to be a musician, but I made the decision to commit to classical music as my career when I was about 15 years old and in high school.

How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply?

I heard fantastic things about TŌN from some of my colleagues who are currently in the orchestra, some of whom I’ve known and played with for over 10 years! I was very excited for the chance to apply when a position opened up in the horn section.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My parents have most significantly inspired my musical career. Not only are they both excellent musicians—my father an opera singer and my mother a church musician and private teacher—but they both have supported me through my entire pursuit of a career in classical music.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician?

My favorite part of being a musician is working alongside other fantastic musicians and developing relationships in our community. It is always great to meet new people through music, and it has been nice to see old friends and colleagues again throughout my studies and professional career. I’m lucky to have worked alongside fantastic musicians and had the support of enthusiastic music fans!

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?

My favorite place to travel is San Francisco, CA followed closely by Santa Fe, NM. I am actually originally from the San Francisco area, but I moved at a young age. My relationship with both places now is characterized by their summer opera festivals. I am fortunate to have traveled alongside my dad as he has performed in both cities, and I have really enjoyed the music and culture in these amazing places. It’s also great to see family, friends and familiar colleagues when we travel to these cities!

Piece of advice for a young classical musician

Always come back to the music that first inspired you to pick up an instrument. It inspired you so strongly that it led you down a path that is far from easy and will challenge you in many ways. It will be your love of music that will guide your success as a musician through anything you may want to achieve.