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Registration for Rubato 2023 is officially open!
August 8-12, 2023 in Oxford, AL USA
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Our inaugural Rubato International Piano Competition was a resounding success last year, drawing talented pianists from around the world and captivating audiences with their stunning performances. Learn more about the 2022 competition, including highlights and results from last year's event.
The Oxford Performing Arts Center is 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 started his formal studies at the early age of five and his professional career at the age of nine, performing a wide repertoire of music including jazz, rock/pop, Latin and Argentine music. 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, Jose Davila (Ray Charles and Marc Anthony’s trombone), John Driskell Hopkins, Sandoval Moreno de Oliveira, Thomas McCutchen, and Nilsinho Amarante.

His undergraduate degree in Classical Piano Performance was earned at Universidad Nacional del Litoral (Argentina), while he studied under the prestigious Argentine pianist Graciela Reca. His next step was to attend Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) for a Master Certificate in Arranging and Orchestration. While there his academic achievements earned him the Herbie Hancock Celebrity Scholarship. He also 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). His work at Berklee culminated in 2019 when he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Music in Music Production.

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”.

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. Meanwhile he also served as accompanist for the JSU Civic Chorale, the JSU Chamber Singers, and the JSU Opera Theatre. In 2019 he became faculty at Gadsden State Community College (Gadsden, AL) working as Adjunct Professor of Music. During this time, he also began performing around the US as a solo artist and as a member of different groups and ensembles. Barreto has frequently been invited as a clinician and artist-in-residence in universities and schools of music including 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 joined the Atlanta Pops Orchestra (Atlanta, GA) as their new Artist-In-Residence, performing, arranging and writing original music for the orchestra. That year he became Director of Music Education for the Oxford Performing Arts Center (OPAC) in Oxford, AL. He also began touring with Irish pop singer/songwriter Chloë Agnew (Celtic Woman) as her pianist and arranger.

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).

In 2022, with the support of the City of Oxford and OPAC, 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 as the official piano for the competition, is designed to provide talented young pianists from around the world with the opportunity to develop a professional and artistic career.
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