The musical journey of Brian Cambrel began early, in his hometown of Woodbridge, Virginia. At age 12, he learned to play the clarinet as part of his middle school band. After entering high school, Cambrel discovered a true passion for musical composition and arrangement, which propelled him into further study. In college, Cambrel picked up the saxophone to facilitate a growing interest in jazz, while he continued to hone and develop his talent for composition and orchestration. Some of his most noteworthy early musical experiences sharpened his individual skills. He served as a soloist and section member in the Essentially Ellington high school competition, sponsored by “Jazz at the Lincoln Center” and later served as a featured soloist in a collegiate wind ensemble performance at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City. Cambrel also worked for Walt Disney Music and had his music recorded and mixed at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, California.
Cambrel began his professional career while still in college, and has since served as a freelance composer, arranger, orchestrator/transcriber/copyist, teacher, clinician, clarinetist/saxophonist and continuing student. Cambrel has served as a staff member for several high school music programs in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area; he worked as a marching band instructor, staff arranger, an applied woodwind instructor, and as a composer. He has also served as a pit musician for many musical productions.
Growing up visually impaired, Cambrel has learned to understand the challenges faced by the disabled. Cambrel has also learned to demonstrate the importance of independence, education, self-advocacy, good character, and service. While residing in Chicago, Illinois, Cambrel was afforded the opportunity to serve as a Job Coach / Peer Mentor in the Youth Employment Program at the Chicago Lighthouse, a non-profit social service agency for the blind and visually impaired, assisting in outreach programs for children (and parents of children) with disabilities.
Cambrel graduated cum laude from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Composition. Cambrel was a Follett Fellow and continued his musical training, completing graduate work at Columbia College Chicago with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music Composition for the Screen, a program designed for the scoring of music to film, television, and other visual media, where he studied with Grammy award winning producer Andy Hill and two-time Emmy award winning composer Hummie Mann. Cambrel also enjoyed a stint in Los Angeles where he studied video game scoring with Michael Reagan and Ron Fish.
Cambrel is an adjunct professor at Shepherd University, where he teaches courses in music theory and electronic music, as well as courses in applied composition and orchestration.