Julio Pabon

Julio Pabon has played percussion since 1998 and continues to learn and develop his craft. As a musician with many different experiences in percussion, He has taught students in early childhood to the high school level. He holds a degree in Music, Media and Entertainment industries from University of Miami but his real passion is playing and teaching percussion to others. While he is classically trained, his heritage has a strong influence on his percussion career. Julio is originally from Puerto Rico, which has had a huge impact on his views about percussion. From a young age, Latino music was an important in his life and development. It acted as one of the catalysts to his pursuit of a degree in music. Teachers that directly influenced his development include: Ruth Canh, Ney Rosauro, John Nyerges, Shannon Wood, Brian Potts, Brooks Truly, Wan Chun Laio and Grammy Award winning Latin Percussionist; Richard Bravo.

Julio grew up in the Rochester, NY in various parts of the city. Growing up in the urban area, He had a difficult time learning percussion. Given the environment and situations that impacted his everyday life, He struggled to stay in school and continue to develop his passion. In high school, Julio began taking lessons with an undergraduate student at Eastman and his talent began to develop quickly. His band instructor at the time, Ms. Priscilla Brown, saw potential in him and helped him develop his musical talent by having him take lessons with Ruth Cahn at the ECMS. He eventually went to Monroe community college to further his craft before moving to the next level at University of Miami. While studying at the University of Miami, He actively worked in the Latin Music scene and played in the University of Miami Salsa Orchestra for many years. He has played with many groups in various styles which include: Latin, Jazz, Funk, Reggae, West African, and many Brazilian ensembles (Samba/Samba Reggae, Maracatu, etc). 

Julio, in his recent years, has set his focus on Latin/Brazilian percussion. Latin percussion is at the root of Julio Pabon’s percussive experience. Growing up listening to Latin music like salsa, guanguanco, afro-cubano, bomba and plena, He had a strong connection with his Puerto Rican heritage and the music from his native land. Although he has a strong influence in Latino culture and music in the Caribbean, In 2005, he began his journey into the world of Brazilian music. While in Miami, under the guidance of Ney Rosauro, he began learning all of the facets of Brazilian music and culture. After leaving University of Miami in 2008, Julio moved to New York City to do an internship at Sony BMG and pursue his love for Brazilian music. He began playing with two of the local samba troups in the area, Samba! New York and Manhattan Samba. He played a varied of shows at venues included: Sounds of Brazil (SOBs), Le Poisson Rouge, Tribeca Halloween parade, the annual Brazilian independence day festival, and Fogo Nas Aguas (Fire on the Water) Boat tour. Later that year, He moved back to Rochester to bring the elements that he had experienced in Miami and New York City to his hometown.

Currently, Julio trains Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art where live percussion is played while you “play the game” of Capoeira. He also teaches children and adults Capoeira and percussion at the academy, Com Expressao. He is also the director and founder of the local group, Sonidos Unidos, a Latin group that plays many genres of Spanish music. Julio was born in Puerto Rico but spend most of his childhood between Florida and Puerto Rico before finally making Rochester his home. In his spare time, Julio also dances salsa and performs in a dance troupe with the Essence of Rhythm Latin dance company and is a member of the Roc Kizomba Dance company. Julio currently lives in downtown Rochester close to Eastman School of Music and the culture epicenter of the city. 

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