Grover Schiltz refused to be bound by the narrow routine of life as an orchestral musician, even if that orchestra happened to be the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The CSO’s longtime principal English horn and oboist shared his diverse interests with his beloved wife Beverly, a double bass player who worked as a music librarian. The Schiltzes bred show dogs, including Pembroke Welsh corgis and dachshunds, producing numerous champions over the years.

They also were avid collectors of nomadic rugs, corkscrews and ceramics who traveled the world in pursuit of their hobbies. In addition, Schiltz was an avid photographer, gourmet cook, and an active board member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Alumni Assn. Even so, he reserved his greatest passion for music.

Schiltz, 80, died of natural causes Thursday at their home in Lake Forest, according to his wife.



  1. I knew Grover slightly: I was at the IDRS conference at Northwestern University and asked if I might visit him on my way home. He invited me for the weekend. He took me through the Academy of Art’s collection of Persian carpets (which he also collected and restored himself) and Impressionist masters. His wife cooked us a wonderful dinner. After dinner we gossiped and he let me play his Decker oboe, which is the finest instrument I have ever played – flawlessly in tune and perfectly even in sound and feel through the entire range.

    The next morning he took me to a rehearsal of the Chicago Civic Orchestra (which is composed of young, professional level players who don’t yet have jobs). After rehearsal he introduced me to the oboe section so I could hawk Westwind products. Then it was off to the airport and home.

    Grover was one of the most interesting people I have ever met – interested in a wide range of topics, thoroughly competent at the occupations he pursued, obviously respected by his colleagues, but most of all, perfectly relaxed and comfortable with his life.

    I’m sorry he’s gone!

  2. Thanks for sharing that, Bob. I hope others read comments here!