Francisco Castillo earned his M.M. in oboe performance from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s and “licenciatura” from the University of Costa Rica.
Castillo is principal oboist with the California Philharmonic Orchestra and the Redlands Symphony. Castillo also performs with many different orchestras and chamber music organizations in Southern California. Castillo is also the oboe and chamber music instructor at the University of Redlands, Pomona College, Pasadena City College, the Idyllwild Arts Academy and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. He has been recognized as an outstanding oboe teacher and chamber music clinician. Many of his students have won positions in some of the most important orchestras in the United States and have won major solo and chamber music competitions.
Castillo co-hosted the 2013 International Double Reed Conference at the University of Redlands. Over 1,200 double reed performers, composers, professors, soloists, conductors, instrumental manufacturers and suppliers from all over the world attended the conference to participate in over 200 events.
Castillo recorded the Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra by Charles Fernandez with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, England, under the direction of the composer.
Recently Castillo also recorded a new solo oboe CD, "The Bolero Project & Más." The project aims to offer a unique and definitive interpretation of Latin romanticism.
As a composer his works have been performed by many different organizations and individuals.
His works extend from solo instrumental compositions, chamber music works and from small chamber orchestra to a full symphony orchestra.
In 1979 he received the Costa Rican National Prize, “Aquilio J. Echeverría” for his orchestra work, “Tupac Amaru.”
In the 1980s the Pasadena Arts Council commissioned Castillo to write the composition, “Concerto for Pasadena,” that was later premiered by the Pasadena Pops under the direction of Maestro Victor Vener.
In 1984, Castillo was commissioned to compose a new work for the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, “Olympic Overture.” That new work was premiered during the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles in a concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Many of his chamber music compositions are performed by different artists throughout the world and they have also been performed at the International Double Reed Society Conferences.
One of his compositional highlights was when Castillo premiered his Rhapsody for Oboe, English Horn and Orchestra with the Redlands Symphony under the direction of Maestro Jon Robertson with soloists, New York Philharmonic principal oboist Liang Wang on the oboe and Castillo on the English horn. The Rhapsody received rave reviews after the premiere. The Press-Enterprise wrote: “Redlands Symphony Orchestra's audience stood in enthusiastic appreciation of the world premiere of Francisco Castillo's “Rhapsody for Oboe, English Horn, and Orchestra” at the concert last weekend. The 15-minute piece surely needs to be ensconced in the orchestra's repertoire, although I suspect it may be technically challenging for most oboists, written, as it was, for New York Philharmonic's Principal Oboe Liang Wang, Castillo's former student. …My favorite flavor was the oboe, English horn duet - Wang on oboe, Castillo on English horn. Poignant, achy, lovingly played, the oboe line tugged at the depths of our souls, and, joined by the English horn with marimba tripping lightly in the background, arrived at immense satisfaction.”
The Redlands Daily Fact wrote: “...And fun it was - lively music and with lots of percussion. In his pre-concert remarks, Robertson half-jokingly said people should feel free to get up and dance during the “Rhapsody.” The music practically danced off the stage, so it might not have been surprising to see people dancing in the aisles. And there were enough lyrical passages for oboe and English horn mixed in to keep the dance from being exhausting, though I heard someone say afterward that "the orchestra got a workout.” So did Wang and Castillo, but it looked and sounded as if they had fun with the music…”
Castillo lives in Arcadia, California. He enjoys watching soccer and tennis matches.