Oto Carrillo was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra 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 master’s degree in both music performance and musicology from Northwestern University. His teachers were Jon Boen, 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 he was able to continue playing in Chicago for two seasons as a member of the Civic Orchestra, coached by Dale Clevenger. He also has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Metropolitana Orchestra of Lisbon, Portugal as well as having had featured roles in Chicago-based ensembles such as the Chicago Sinfonietta, Music of the Baroque, Chicago Philharmonic and Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition, Carrillo has played in various summer festivals with such orchestras as the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Grant Park Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival in 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.
Carrillo has collaborated with numerous chamber groups such as the Chicago Chamber Musicians, musicians from the MusicNow series, and he was a member of the Millar Brass Ensemble whose performances have been recorded on the Delos and Koss labels. In addition, Carrillo has been a soloist with various groups in and outside the Chicago area performing works by Bach, Strauss and Mozart, 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’s Concertstucke 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 at various institutions. Currently, he is on faculty at DePaul University and the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific (SOAP), a unique summer training program for aspiring young orchestral musicians set in British Columbia.
Outside of playing horn, Carrillo enjoys savoring and occasionally brewing excellent craft beer, woodworking, playing sports of all types especially basketball and the company of his wife Sarah, a freelance trumpet player, and their two brass playing children, Lucas and Isabelle.