A native of Guatemala, Oto Carrillo grew up in Chicago, admiring the CSO and its wonderful horn section. Among his teachers were Jon Boen, principal horn of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Gail Williams, former associate principal of the CSO.

Why did you choose your instrument?

I didn’t; my parents chose it. They thought I had a good enough ear as a child to handle what they thought of as a difficult instrument.

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

Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony with Bernard Haitink, at the end of October.

Offstage, I like to:

Play sports, especially basketball. Travel to America’s national parks and other beautiful places with my family. Woodworking, especially making music-related items, like music stands and horn mutes. Sample and occasionally brew excellent craft beer.

With which other musician would you most want to play a duet, and why?

Probably pop singer Sarah McLachlan. Her voice is so beautiful, and she sings with so much emotion. Also, another Sarah — my wife, who is an amazing freelance trumpet player.

What is your most memorable CSO performance?

At my first-ever concert at Carnegie Hall playing Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony, I got stuck in the hotel elevator with my wife and then 14-month-old son for an hour during the first half of the concert (a piece I didn’t have to play). After an elevator crew got only me out (climbing past the exposed shaft to the adjacent elevator), I had only about two minutes to get myself ready to play. Everybody in the CSO staff helped out tremendously, but my parents, who were at the concert, didn’t understand why I was the last person to come out onstage. My wife and son remained in the elevator for another hour as crews tried in vain to fix it (unknown to me as I was playing). They got out the same way I did, but with a larger opening to pass my son from one car to the next!

HOMETOWN: Oak Park, Ill.
EDUCATION: DePaul University, Northwestern University


VIDEO: Oto Carrillo is part of the CSO’s Dream Out Loud Music Education Advocacy Campaign, which uses the experiences and stories of CSO members to inspire young musicians to continue their musical studies and to persevere during periods of challenge or frustration. For more information about Dream Out Loud, click here.