top of page
Rubato 2023
August 8-12, 2023 in Oxford, AL USA
Rubato Medalists Graphics 2023.jpg
Rubato 23 Semifinalists.jpg
Meet Our 2023 Semifinalists
Out of 76 applicants from 14 different countries, these 18 pianists were chosen and will soon be traveling from 8 different countries around the world to compete for the gold! 
Rubato is held at the Oxford Performing Arts Center, a unique combination of a historic building and a destination for incredible performing and visual arts. Today, OPAC hosts nationally and internationally known artists in music, dance, and Broadway, and also serves as the official Alabama home of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra. In fact, OPAC is the busiest stage in the state of Alabama, presenting more touring artists than any other venue in the state.
Julio Barreto
Rubato Founder & Director
Born in  Argentina,  Julio  Barreto proved to have an innate talent for music.  He began his formal music studies at the age of five and his professional career at age nine. He performed a wide repertoire of music including jazz,  rock/pop,  Latin,  and  Argentine music.  As a  young man,  Julio earned a  reputation as a professional musician. At age sixteen, he began studying under the prestigious Argentine pianist Graciela 
Reca,  and continued his education at  Universidad  Nacional del  Litoral  (Argentina),  earning an undergraduate degree in  Classical  Piano  Performance in  2012.  After graduation,  Barreto served as a piano accompanist for the  Choral  Institute of  Santa  Fe  School of  Music and  taught  piano  at  Isidro Maiztegui  School of  Music  (Argentina).  In  addition,  he  worked  as  a  full-time  professor  at  UNL  teaching 
Applied and  Collaborative  Piano,  courses in  Popular  Music,  Improvisation,  Jazz,  Rock,  Pop,  Arranging, and Production, and served as Director of School Extension & Outreach. During this time in Argentina, he wrote  and  produced  music  for  radio  and  TV,  and  was  also  pianist  and  arranger  of  the  “Santa  Fe  Jazz Ensemble” Big Band, and the group “Picante Latin Jazz”.   
Next,  he attended  Berklee  College of  Music  (Boston,  MA).  While there,  his academic achievements earned him the Herbie Hancock Celebrity Scholarship. Julio studied piano and participated in workshops at  Berklee  with  luminaries  such  as  Neil  Olmstead,  Russell  Hoffmann,  Kevin  Harris,  Robert Christopherson,  Utar  Artun,  Leo  Blanco,  and  Vladan  Milenkovic.  He  also  was  guided  by  world-class professionals of today’s music industry including Susan Rogers (Prince), John Storyk (Jimi Hendrix), Sean Slade (Lou Reed, Radiohead), and David Bendeth (Paramore). Julio earned a Master in Arranging and Orchestration in 2016.   
In  2018,  he  permanently  moved  to  the  United  States  to  serve  as  Visiting  Assistant  Professor  at Jacksonville  State  University  (JSU),  Teaching  Classical  Piano,  Applied  Piano,  Latin  American  Musical Styles, and Intro to Music Production. He also served as accompanist for the JSU Civic Chorale, the JSU Chamber Singers, and the JSU Opera Theatre. During  this  time  Julio  continued  his  education  at  Berklee  College  of  Music,  which  culminated  in  2019 when he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Music in Music Production. The same year, Julio 
joined  the  faculty  at  Gadsden  State  Community  College  (Gadsden,  AL)  working  as  Adjunct  Professor  of Music.  
Barreto  has  performed  around  the  US  as  a  solo  artist  and  as  a  member  of  different  groups  and ensembles.  He  has  frequently  been  invited  as  a  clinician  and  artist-in-residence  in  universities  and schools of music including the University of North Texas, Jacksonville State University (AL), Texas Woman’s University, Universidad Nacional del Litoral (ARG), Texas Christian University, Concordia University (NE), 
Texas  A&M  University-Commerce,  The  Omaha  Conservatory of  Music  (NE),  among others.  Mr.  Barreto has  also  been  repeatedly  invited  to  teach  online  webinars  for  the  prestigious  Frances  Clark  Center  for Keyboard Pedagogy (Piano Magazine) to educators from conservatories, universities, and schools around the world on various topics, including jazz, arranging, and Latin music.   
In 2021, Julio Barreto became the Director of Music Education at the Oxford Performing Arts Center. The same  year,  he  joined  the  Atlanta  Pops Orchestra  (Atlanta,  GA)  as  their  Artist-In-Residence,  performing, arranging, and writing original music for the orchestra, and touring with Irish pop singer/songwriter Chloë Agnew (Celtic Woman) as her pianist and arranger.  
In 2022, he became the Founder and Director of the “Rubato International Piano Competition”. Uniquely including  both  classical  and  jazz  music,  this  remarkable  event  sponsored  by  Steinway  &  Sons,  has become  the  biggest  international  piano  competition  in  the  southeast  of  the  US,  designed  to  provide talented young pianists from around the world with the opportunity to develop a professional and artistic 
His  musical  tenure  includes  a  wide  range  of  experience  as  a  session  musician,  composer,  arranger, producer,  as well  as a  music educator.  His  musical  specialties  in  classical,  jazz,  and  pop  music  have allowed  him  to  work  with  artists  such  as  Paquito  D’Rivera,  Atlanta  Pops  Orchestra,  David  Phelps,  Hugh Panaro  (“Phantom  of  The  Opera”,  “Sweeney  Todd”  –  Broadway,  NYC)  Timothy  Miller,  Chloë  Agnew, “Balsam  Range”,  Jose  Davila  (Ray  Charles  and  Marc  Anthony’s  trombone),  John  Driskell  Hopkins, 
Sandoval Moreno de Oliveira, Thomas McCutchen, and Nilsinho Amarante.  Julio Barreto is an active member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the College Music Society  (CMS)  the  American  Society  of  Composers,  Authors,  and  Publishers  (ASCAP), and  the  National Association for Music Education (NAfME). 
bottom of page