Oto Carillo

DePaul ’93 (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, DePaul Professor of Horn)

I have had the fortune of being Jon’s student, colleague, teaching partner at DePaul, neighbor, and friend. As his student, I came to Jon with much bravado but little in the way of polish. After 3+ years of ‘hoo-tooing’, watermelon seed spitting, mouthpiece paper blowing, tree root digging (to pay off some summer lessons), and funny stories about an egg going below or above the tongue, I emerged from Jon’s studio much more mature as a player-one who valued sound over flash, elegance over muscle, and musical planning over thoughtlessness. I will always remember the easy and gentle manner he had with his words and the beautiful ringing sound that was always at the ready to show me what could be done. As a student, I was amazed at his playing-everything was played with a musical purpose and everything had that glorious, effortless sound. As his sometime colleague, I’m still impressed by this. Having played alongside Jon in Grant Park and on the Brandenburg Concerto, or having listened to him at Lyric playing any number of solos, I am still fascinated at his facility and understanding of everything he does. He truly is one of the finest artists that I have met. As his teaching partner at DePaul, I was privy to countless nuggets of his instruction. I still remember the first horn class we shared and how nervous I was when it was my turn to say something to the students. I couldn’t believe that I was being called upon to impart some wisdom with the ‘master’ sitting not too far away. However, the wonderful thing about Jon is that he comes across as downright humble. He has always treated me with kindness, respect, and as an equal, (sometimes difficult for me to fathom) ready to help out whenever I needed it. Aside from his impeccable artistry, he embodies what is best in a musician; humility, and compassion for others. Together, we have heard many auditions and juries, shared countless car rides, commiserated over household remodeling projects, compared notes on students, and have had wonderful discussions about horn, beer and everything in between. He has been one of the most significant influences in my life; not only shaping me as a musician, but as a human being.