Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

William Caballero

William Caballero

Associate Teaching Professor of Horn

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


During the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s 2011 European Festivals Tour, Caballero — and the Pittsburgh Symphony horn section he leads — received rave reviews. Michael Church of The Independent called Caballero “a principal horn whose pianissimo is simply miraculous,” and Guy Dammann wrote in The Guardian, “The horn section — led very much from the front by their excellent principal William Caballero – is one of the best in the business.” In its September 2012 review of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Exton recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Gramophone magazine wrote, “Pittsburgh’s first horn is as spectacular as any on disc.”

The 2020-2021 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra season represents William Caballero’s 31st year as Principal Horn under the Maestros Lorin Maazel, Marris Jansons and Manfred Honeck. Before joining the symphony in May 1989, Caballero previously held Principal Horn positions with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera and Hartford Symphony. He held Third Horn positions with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Opera and acting Third Horn with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. He has performed as guest Principal Horn with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. 

Born in New Mexico and raised in Wisconsin, Caballero’s early horn studies included working under Larry Simons, Barry Benjamin and Basil Tyler, as well as studying the piano and pipe organ. Caballero graduated from New England Conservatory in Boston where he studied with Richard Mackey and Thomas Newell, both former members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Currently, Caballero is the Associate Teaching Professor of Horn at Carnegie Mellon University, School of Music. Previously, he held adjunct teaching positions at Indiana University Bloomington, Rice University in Houston, Texas, and Duquesne University. He has been invited and presented masterclasses throughout the world including Northwestern University, Colburn School of Music, New England Conservatory, University of Indiana Bloomington, Cleveland Institute of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New World Symphony, and the Beijing and Shanghai Conservatories. Past summers have included joining the faculty’s of the Aspen Music Festival, Chautauqua Music Festival, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.

In January 2012, Caballero began collaboration with the Internet music teaching company based in Napa, California. His teaching website was release in September 2012 as the only complete horn teaching curriculum available via the internet for horn students worldwide. 

Caballero is also in demand as a chamber musician collaborating with musicians such as violinists Gil Shaham, Philip Setzer, and pianists André Previn, Christoph Eshenbach, Orli Shaham and Andre Watts. William has also performed and worked with jazz musician and composer Chris Brubeck, as well as ensembles that include the Tokyo String Quartet, Trio Johannas, Principal Strings of the Metropolitan Opera, Principal Strings of the Berlin Philharmonic, Center City Brass, Bay Chamber Concert Series, St. Barth’s Music Festival, and the Grand Teton Music Festival. He is also a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass, which includes fellow colleagues of the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass section. 

Recent chamber music performances include performing Brahms’ Horn Trio in E-flat major with Gil and Orli Shaham in Zankel Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York and appearing several times live on National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Performance Today” in NPR’s Washington, D.C. studios. 

Caballero solos regularly with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, with November of 2018 being his most recent performance and Pittsburgh's premiere of Mozart's 4th Horn Concerto. March of 2015 included his colleagues of the PSO horn section performing Schumann’s Konzertstück in F for four horns and orchestra under the baton of Maestro Orozco-Estrada. In April of 2014 Caballero performed the world premiere of Robert Levin Edition of Mozart’s 1st Horn Concerto in D, and in September 2012 performed the Pittsburgh Symphony premiere of Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1 in E-flat, both under the baton of Maestro Honeck. Other solo performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have included Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat with Maestro Maazel, Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat with Maestro Andre Previn, Mozart Concerto fragments with Pittsburgh Symphony Concertmaster Andres Cardenes, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and tenor Anthony Griffey, Schumann’s Konzertstück in F for four horns and orchestra with his Pittsburgh Symphony horn colleagues under the baton of Maestro Sir John Elliot Gardener, and the John Williams Horn Concerto under the baton of Maestro Leonard Slatkin.

Other recent solo appearances outside of the Pittsburgh Symphony have included performances in Montenegro with Maestro Ronald Zollman, the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic at New York City’s Carnegie Hall under the baton of former Principal Horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Dale Clevenger, and with the Westmoreland Symphony under the baton of Daniel Meyer.

In September of 2012 Mr. Caballero recorded for the Strauss 1st Horn Concerto with Maestro Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony, which was paired with Beethoven's 3rd Symphony. The Reference Recording Label recording received rave reviews and was nominated for three Grammy’s awards. In May 1992, Caballero premiered Benjamin Lees’ Concerto for Horn and Orchestra with the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of then-Music Director Lorin Maazel. Following the performances in Pittsburgh, he performed Lees’ Concerto in Spain, Germany, and England with the Pittsburgh Symphony on tour. In May 1996, Caballero recorded the concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Lorin Maazel for New World Records.

Caballero holds the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Anonymous Foundation Principal Horn Chair.