Otto Kronthaler was born in Bavarian Schobenhausen. At the age of 15 he started clarinet lessons with the former principal clarinettist of the Augsburg Philharmonics, Georg Lechner. Lechner was heavily influenced by the Viennese clarinet school, which shaped Kronthalers entire career as a musician. After he finished at school, he spent a year in military service, playing in the Air Force Music Corp Band in Munich. Following this he moved to Augsburg to study to become a religion and music teacher. After his state exams, he decided to continue with private clarinet lessons, which lead to his appointment six months later, as a clarinettist in the Nuernberg Symphony Orchestra. Otto Kronthaler had to stop playing the clarinet, following [what was essentially] a paralysis of his embouchure and decided to become an instrument maker, which he did 18 months later.
It was this career change which lead him to meet Johanna, who would later become his wife. Together they started a firm where they developed a completely new line of clarinets, which made it possible for him to play again. In 1989 the Vocational College for music in Bad Koenigshofen created a post for him teaching the clarinet and saxophone. This lead to freelance work as an orchestral and chamber musician and solo performances. Parallel to this he worked for 10 years on his doctoral dissertation which he was able to finish in 2000. His first teaching post at the conservatory in Karlsruhe as acting professor lead to contracts teaching in the conservatories in Mannheim and Wuerzburg.
Particularly important musical collaborations include his performances with specialist ensembles Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble and
Concentus Musicus Wien where he regularly worked with conductors Nicolaus Harnoncourt and Thomas Hengelbrock. In 2005 he and his wife moved the entire clarinet-making firm from Bad Neustadt to Karlsruhe-Durlach. At the age of 50 he retired as a performing clarinettist and teacher, so that he could give his time and energy to the further development of the clarinet. His widespread knowledge and experience has made it possible for him to assist and advise many clarinettists who come to him. In his free time you might find him hiking in Alsatia or on one of the pilgrim's roads to Santiago de Compostela.