A native of west suburban Stickney, Daniel Gingrich was a member of the Chicago Youth Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (1969–72) while studying with the Chicago Symphony’s Richard Oldberg. After attending Roosevelt University’s Chicago Musical College (now Chicago College of Performing Arts), he joined the Rochester Philharmonic at the age of 19. He played with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., for one season before joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1975. In 2002, Daniel Barenboim appointed him associate principal horn; with the retirement of Dale Clevenger, Gingrich is now acting principal horn.

Why did you choose your instrument?

I did not choose the horn. I was so taken with my older brother’s trumpet that my father was moved to invest $15 in a pawn-shop mellophone for me. I loved that instrument and tried to hide my disappointment when I was presented with a shiny new French horn on my next birthday. Fortunately, I eventually learned to love the horn.

Offstage, I like to:

Fix things around the house. I find it tremendously rewarding to take a broken and useless object and return it to functionality, even though my wife probably wouldn’t mind getting something new once in a while.

Describe an unforgettable musical moment (as a performer or as a listener) you had as a young musician.

I attended my first CSO concert in 1969. I remember climbing the stairs to the gallery and feeling very much out of place — a teenager in Orchestra Hall. Solti conducted Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 that day, and I was transported to a world where I felt I did indeed belong. As I descended those stairs, I was determined to do everything in my power to become a professional musician.

What work are you most looking forward to performing this season, and why?

I plan to enjoy some unfamiliar Schubert this year. I particularly like the pairing of his little-known Second Symphony with his iconic Unfinished Symphony, which the CSO will play in March.

Favorite food or meal:

I have so many “favorite” foods that the term loses all meaning. I enjoy eating and I like variety. Similarly, I love the varied musical repertoire I get to play as a member of the CSO.


HOMETOWN: Stickney, Ill.


EDUCATION: Roosevelt University.

FULL BIO here.