I was a participant in the 2003 NEH Institute in Vienna. Both Chris Otto and I and a few other participants were placed in the overflow hotel, the Harmonie, because the main hotel couldn't accommodate the entire group. At first I was disappointed, but very soon felt very lucky because Chris and I had breakfast together every morning. After 2003 I was the curriculum consultant for the Mozart Institute. I was so lucky to know Chris and work with him for so many summers. He was the very prototype of a good teacher; he respected his students; he shared his knowledge and passion for learning, and he was never too busy to spend time with me and his other students to explain in more detail the finer points of his brilliant lectures and tours. Chris taught me how to read a building like a text, see it as a work of art organized in the same form as a musical composition, experience it as an integrated, coherent work of art. Chris taught me to see differently, and what greater gift can a teacher give to his students.
I've included a picture of Chris from 2008 in our classroom in the Schatten Abbey in Vienna. I would like to add more pictures, but it seems this site allows only one post per entry. I'll add more on separate posts.
I am so thankful for having had the privilege of knowing Chris Otto. In my estimation he belongs in the pantheon of the greatest of all teachers; in fact, in the pantheon of greatest of all people.