Principal Timpanist Leonardo Soto also served as Principal Timpanist of the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit from 2004 to 2009.
Mr. Soto began his Bachelors degree at the University of Chile and was recipient of the Teatro Municipal of Santiago National Scholarship. During this time, he was trained as a Latin percussionist by his father, Mr. Leonardo Soto Sr., who is one Chile’s most prominent musicians in the field.
Mr. Soto began his professional career as a substitute Percussionist with the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony of Chile, gaining experience in orchestral, opera and ballet repertoire.
In 1997 he received the Fundasion Andes International Scholarship. He completed his Masters degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA, studying with timpanist Timothy K. Adams Jr. from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Soto has worked with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Toledo Symphony, Canton Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and City Music Cleveland, among others. As a Latin percussionist, Mr. Soto has recorded and toured with a number of artist and bands from Pennsylvania, Southern Michigan and New York. In 2009, Mr. Soto was made an honorary student at Cleveland State University by his most recent teacher, Mr. Tom Freer of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Leonardo often travels back to Chile to perform recitals, master classes and clinics at the National University and the Youth Symphony Organization, working with students from different countries of South America. During the summer, Mr. Soto travels to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to perform in Strings Music Festival.
As an educator and instructor, Mr. Soto is a faculty member at Queens University of Charlotte as well as an instructor for both the Charlotte Youth Symphony Orchestra and Junior Youth Orchestra.
Leonardo endorses by Pro-mark percussion mallets and Remo Drumheads. He is on the board of advisors at WDAV, Charlotte’s classical music radio station.