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Marian Glennon Newell Memorial Chair

The Mary Kelley Memorial Chair

Oto Carrillo.jpeg

Oto Carrillo
The Don & Betsy Eisenhauer Chair

Oto Carrillo was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) horn section by Daniel Barenboim in 2000. A native of Guatemala, Carrillo grew up in Chicago admiring the CSO and its wonderful horn section while receiving a Bachelor's degree in music performance from DePaul University and a Master's degree in both music performance and musicology from Northwestern University. His teachers were Jon Ben, principal horn of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Gail Williams, former associate principal of the CSO. After graduating, he won positions with the Memphis and Cedar Rapids orchestras, and was able to continue playing in Chicago for two seasons as a member of the Civic Orchestra, coached by the legendary retired principal horn of the CSO, Dale Clevenger. He has played guest principal with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México and guest associate principal with the Utah Symphony. Oto has also performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Metropolitana Orchestra of Lisbon, Portugal as well as having had featured roles in Chicago based ensembles such as the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Music of the Baroque, where he is now principal horn. In addition, Oto has played in various summer festivals with such orchestras as the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the Grant Park Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Festival in Woodstock, Illinois, and the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra. Prior to his appointment to the CSO, Carrillo held positions in the South Bend and Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestras.


Oto has collaborated with numerous chamber groups such as Civitas, Dempster Street Pro Musica, The Chicago Chamber Musicians, and as a member of the Athaneum Ensemble and the Millar Brass Ensemble. Recently, Oto gave a series of recitals in Vancouver, Canada where he also played with musicians of Vetta Chamber Music. Carrillo has been a soloist with various groups in and outside the Chicago area performing works by Bach, Strauss, Mozart, Britten, and Gliere as well as giving the Chicago premiere of Augusta Read Thomas' Silver Chants the Litanies for horn and chamber orchestra. He has collaborated with his colleagues in the CSO horn section to perform Schumann' Konzertstücke For Four Horns with the Chicago Youth Symphony, the Civic Orchestra, and most recently, the CSO.


As an instructor, Carrillo has given many master classes across the United States and around the globe. He has been on faculty at DePaul University since 2003 and in 2013, was awarded its Distinguished Alumnus Award. In addition, he served as the horn professor for 10 years at the Pacific Regional International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA), formerly SOAP, a unique summer training program for aspiring young orchestral musicians set in British Columbia.


Outside of playing horn, Oto enjoys savoring and occasionally brewing excellent craft beer, woodworking, playing sports of all types, traveling to beautiful places around the world, and the company of his wife Sarah, a free-lance trumpet player, and their two college aged children, Lucas and Isabelle.

    "Playing chamber music is incredibly collaborative and rewarding. The music is usually pared down and played without a conductor so that everyone’s sound and ideas contribute mightily to the end result. In such an intimate setting, exquisite and personal music can be created as well as a lasting bond of camaraderie."

Oto Carrillo, horn

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