Julio Cesar Barreto Penié was born on 19th September 1967 in Guanabacoa/La Habana/Cuba as fifth child of his family. Thanks to his older brothers and his talented uncles (Justo Barreto Rodrigues / pianist from Louis Armstrong; Alberto Barreto / composer from Benny More) he started to play afro-cuban percussion in the age of seven years. With twelve years he already played at different private and official events. On 1983 Julio Barreto attended courses at the National School of Art. After six years he succeded in finishing the nine year classical music studies at the Academy of "Amadeo Roldan".
While he was studying, Julio Barreto was playing drums in different cuban music groups like Kiki Corona and Roberto Poveda. At the same time he also played Jazz at many national festivals with Babel, directed by Carlos Puig; and Cause, directed by José Carlos Acosta. With Laurindo Almeida from Brasil he played in Duo.
After his studies Julio Barreto began to play with various famous singers of cuban popular music at theatres and festivals, for example with Xiomara Laugart and Alfredo Rodriguez.
Before Julio Barreto joined the group of Gonzalo Rubalcaba in January 1991, he was playing during one year Jazz with the group "Cuarto Espacio" directed by Omar Hernandez.
During seven years, Julio Barreto and Gonzalo Rubalcaba have been travelling successfully all around the world in Trio and Quartet. Julio Barreto was member of both groups. The Trio was formed by Gonzalo Rubalcaba (p), Julio Barreto (dr), Ron Carter (b), Charlie Haden (b), Miroslav Vitous (b), John Patitucci (b) or Buster Williams (b). The Quartet was formed by Gonzalo Rubalcaba (p), Julio Barreto (dr), Felipe Cabrera (b), Reynaldo Melian (tp).
Published CD's with Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Blue Note)
- Suite 4 y 20 (Quartet) (Gold Premium/Japan/1991)
- Rapsodia (Quartet) (nominated for Grammy 1995)
- Diz (Trio) - Imagine (Trio and Quartet) (Premium/USA/1996)
- Antiguo (Quartet) (nominated for Grammy 2000)
At the end of the year 1995, Julio Barreto formed the group JULIO BARRETO TRIO with cuban musicians: Julio Barreto (ds), Antonio Pérez (p), Manuel Orza (b). Since 1997 he has also a Quartet, called JULIO BARRETO CUBAN QUARTET: Julio Barreto (ds), Carlos Puig (tp/keyb), Dany Martinez (g), Manuel Orza (b). The CD "Iyabó" with the JULIO BARRETO CUBAN QUARTET special guest: RAVI COLTRANE came out in September 99.
Since 1997 Julio Barreto is joining the group Roy Hargrove's Crisol all Stars. In April 98 they recorded a new album. The most of the time Julio Barreto is touring with the JULIO BARRETO CUBAN QUARTET. The rest of his time, he plays concerts with various national and international musicians (Sophia Domancich, David Sanchez, Chucho Valdes, Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane and many more), he also recorded on 10 more CD's.
Julio Barreto signed international artist agreements with SONOR, ZILDIJAN, REMO and REGAL.