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Daniel Barenboim appointed Oto Carrillo to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2000. A native of Guatemala, Carrillo grew up in Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance from DePaul University and master’s degrees in music performance and musicology from Northwestern University, studying horn with Jon Boen and Gail Williams. After graduating, he won positions with the Memphis and Cedar Rapids (now Orchestra Iowa) symphony orchestras and continued playing in Chicago for two seasons as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, coached by Dale Clevenger.
He also has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Metropolitana Orchestra of Lisbon as well the Chicago Sinfonietta, Music of the Baroque, Chicago Philharmonic, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition, Carrillo has played in various summer festival orchestras including the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival (Woodstock, Illinois), and Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra.
Prior to his appointment to the CSO, Carrillo held positions in the South Bend and Southwest Michigan symphony orchestras. He has collaborated with numerous chamber groups, including Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Millar Brass Ensemble — whose performances have been recorded on the Delos and Koss labels — and as a chamber musician in the CSO’s MusicNOW series. He was a soloist in the Chicago premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Silver Chants the Litanies for horn and chamber orchestra and has collaborated with the CSO horn section to perform Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns with the Chicago Youth Symphony, the Civic Orchestra, and the CSO. Recently, Carrillo gave a series of recitals in Vancouver, Canada, and served as guest principal horn of the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico and guest associate principal horn of the Utah Symphony.
As an instructor, Carrillo has given many master classes at various institutions worldwide. He served for ten years on the faculty of the Pacific Regional International Summer Music Academy (formerly the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific), a unique summer training program for aspiring young orchestral musicians in British Columbia. He is currently on the faculty at DePaul University, and in 2013, was awarded the university’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Outside of playing horn, Carrillo 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, the PSO’s principal trumpet, and their college-aged children, Lucas and Isabelle.