B i o g r a p h y
Julio was gifted at an early age with a fine-tuned musical ear. At age 5, Julio sat in on one of the guitar lessons his father was giving at their home. After seeing that his son was able to distinguish between his student’s mistakes and accomplishments, he taught him a Paraguayan piece on a small harp, which he played for his mother that afternoon when she got home from her job as a seamstress. His father, Carlos, was a former Musical Diplomat for his native Paraguay, South America. He studied with Dionicio Basualdo, who was a protégé of Agustin Barrios. Julio’s mother, Carmen, was from Colombia, South America where she sang on the radio and acted in an improv. troupe. After her son played the harp for her, she told her husband to teach him guitar since that was his forté. He first learned to play by watching his father play a few measures on a guitar and then repeat what he played on the smaller guitar his father gave him. This process continued while his father taught him how to read music.
He gave his first recital at the age of 12 and the following year, was an award winner at the International Agustin Barrios Guitar Competition in Mexico City where the average age of his competitors was at least 20 years his senior! Also, by then he had commenced studies in piano, cello, voice, music theory and conducting at the Summer Music Program at the University of California at Berkeley, and had won the Martin Luther King, Jr. Music Competition on cello and guitar.
At age 14 at the invitation of the Paraguayan government, he traveled to South America to perform guitar recitals on radio and TV and was a guest artist at the Annual Independence Day festivities at the Municipal Soccer Stadium performing for over 80,000 attendees.
During his senior year of high school, he performed Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the late Calvin Simmons and the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and was also a soloist with the Young Peoples Symphony Orchestra in Berkeley. The following year he received a scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with George Sakellariou and David Tannenbaum.
By 1986 he continued his conducting studies with maestros Kent Nagano, Richard Buckley and Dr. Dennis DeCoteau, became principal cellist of the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra and had toured with them internationally as both cellist and guitar soloist. He was ultimately appointed Assistant Conductor to its then-Music Director, Kent Nagano. He conducted OSYO in Pops Concerts throughout the Bay Area and was Music Director for Oakland Summer Theatre’s productions of The Wiz and Kiss Me Kate.
Entering his 20s, Julio began a second career as instructor of cello, classical guitar, bass and music theory, teaching at both Meadowood Music Camp and El Cerrito High School, the latter at which he was appointed String Specialist and Orchestra Conductor. Julio feels very strongly that music should be an integral part of a child’s education from elementary through high school. “…Music is the perfect vehicle for expanding a child’s imagination and tapping into their self-esteem. Working with others towards a common goal, listening in a team-oriented atmosphere, building relationships which can last a lifetime, and processing their emotions in a healthy and safe environment are just some of the by-products of a child’s experience in music when they have a good teacher.”
Keeping busy during the new millennium, he performs around the San Francisco Bay Area; is working on a master class presentation on the music of Agustín Barrios; produced a classical guitar CD, Heart Strings; and conducted the American opera, Fay Yen Fah, with L’Orquesta D’Solis, the official orchestra for Prince Albert II of Monaco and soloists from the United States in the Monte Carlo Opera House.
Wedding bells rang for Julio and his bride, Carol DeChaine, on October 10, 2010 and they now live in Hayward, California. He is also very proud to be a board member of the Young Musicians Program, formerly the Summer Music Program at U.C. Berkeley.