Photo of Leonardo SotoLeonardo R. Soto, Jr., Principal Timpanist

Leonardo R Soto Jr. is the Principal Timpanist of the Charlotte Symphony, Leonardo also served as Principal Timpanist of the Michigan Opera Theatre-Detroit Opera House for six seasons. As an educator and instructor, Mr. Soto is faculty member at Queens University of Charlotte as well as instructor for both the Charlotte Youth Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony education program. Leonardo often travels back to his native Chile to perform recitals, master classes and clinics that take place at the National University of Chile, the Youth Symphony foundation and the National Symphony concert hall, where students arrive from different countries of South America.

As a soloist, Mr. Soto made his debut with the Charlotte Symphony this past season, and has been invited to perform with the Amarillo Symphony in Texas Every summer Mr Soto travels to Steamboat springs in Colorado, to take part of the 'Strings in the mountains' music festival as a Timpanist and percussionist for the orchestra and chamber music series Recently Mr Soto became a part or the board of advisors at WDAV, Charlotte's classical radio station.

Begun his Bachelor degree at the University of Chile where he received the 'Teatro Municipal of Santiago National Scholarship' for four years. At the same time, he was trained as Latin percussionist by his own father Mr. Leonardo Soto Sr. who is one Chile's most prominent musicians in the field. Mr. Soto begun 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 'Fundacion Andes International Scholarship'. This award was received after competing internationally against young musicians from Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. The Scholarship brought him to finish his education in the USA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA, where he studied with Timpanist Timothy Adams from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. After relocating in the United States, Mr. Soto has worked and toured with ensembles such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, City Music Cleveland, among others. Also as Latin Percussionist Mr. Soto has recorded and toured with a number of artist and bands from the Pennsylvania, Southern Michigan and the New York area. 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 is endorsed by Freer Percussion products and REMO Drum heads.